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Full text of "Ireland and her agitators"

'ill 



! 



IRELAND 



AXD 



HER 



A 



GIT AT 



OR 



S. 



BY 



W. J. 



O'N. DAUNT, 



Author of "The Wife-Hunter, or Memoirs of M.P.'s," "Hugh Talbot," "The Gentle- 
man in Debt," <fec. 



ENLARGED, AXD CAREFULLY REVISED BY THE AUTHOR. 



" We know our duty to our Sovereign, and are loyal ; we also know our duty to 
ourselves, and are resolved to be free." — Declaration of Dungannon Volunteers, 1782. 

" You may make the Union binding as a law, but you can never make it obligatory 
ou conscience. It will be obeyed as long as England is strong; but resistance to it 
will be in the abstract a duty, and the exhibition of that resistance will be merely a 
question of prudence." — Right Hon. William Saurin. 



DUBLIN : 

JOHN MULLANY, 1 PARLIAMENT STREET. 

LONDON : LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO., PATERNOSTER ROW. 



Uhfo (Ebifrmr, 



BOSTON COLLEGE LIBRARY 
CHESTNUT HILL, MASS. 



1867. 



05S 



DEDICATION. 



TO JOHN BRIGHT, ESQ., M. P. 



Sir, 



Convinced that you are a sincere friend of my 
country, I dedicate this book to you. 

Ireland has many grievances. Her worst grievance is 
the want of self-legislation. That grievance, in itself in- 
tolerable, is the root of nearly all the others. And it 
aggravates the evils of which it is not the direct cause. 
When other countries are in question, English public 
opinion has frequently recognised the important truth that 
Nationality is a great and vital principle, and that its 
claims cannot safely be ignored or disregarded. I hope 
that you, at least, will agree with me that the recognition 
of Ireland's Nationality in fact as well as in theory, is not 
only essential to her well-being, but would conduce to the 
permanent strength of the empire. 

"I wall trust the people," said Grattan, "with the cus- 
tody of their own liberty ; but I will trust no people with 
the custody of liberty other than their own." 

Ireland, for sixty- six years, has been in the custody of 
England. You, Sir, know the results of that usurped 
guardianship. 

I have the honour to subscribe myself, with sentiments 
of the highest consideration, 



Sir, 

Your faithful servant, 



W. J. O N. DAUNT. 



Kilcascan, November, 18G7. 




PREFACE. 



It is in the highest degree desirable that England and Ireland 
should entertain mutual sentiments of friendship, and that 
both should willingly occupy their appropriate positions as 
constituent parts of a great empire. It is in the highest de- 
gree desirable that all the inhabitants of Ireland should render 
to the throne of these kingdoms the homage of hearty and un- 
qualified loyalty. 

It is notorious that Ireland is dissatisfied with her position. 
The following work may help to elucidate the causes of her 
discontent. It is surely worth inquiry whether the position 
of Ireland is such as she ought to occupy — whether it i3 
compatible with her rights, with her interests, and with her 
honour. And if it be compatible with none of these, it is 
worth inquiiy whether a more satisfactory position could not 
be substituted for one which results in national suffering, in 
unnatural emigration, and in extensive disaffection. 

The present condition of Ireland is a scandal to the civi- 
lised world, a curse to its inhabitants, and a disgrace to the 
imperial government. If experience can teach anything, the 
experience of sixty- six years of union unquestionably teaches 
that imperial legislation is incompetent to render Ireland 
prosperous and happy. 

When Irish discontent is spoken of, English writers some- 



X PEEFACE. 

times suppose that it is merely a traditionary sentiment still 
lingering in the national mind — the surviving result of injus- 
tice that has long since passed away. For instance, the 
Times, in an article on Fenianism in September, 1885, thus 
deals with the existing discontent : " The greater our former 
injustice to Ireland, the easier it is to account for existing 
discontent without assuming any present injustice. If there 
be any such present injustice, let it be pointed out. Unless 
it be the maintenance of the Irish Church, we know not where 
to look for it ; and assuredly no English interest will be 
allowed to protect this institution if Ireland be united in de- 
manding its abolition." 

When the Times named the State Church as the only sub- 
sisting injustice, it forgot a still greater and more grievous 
wrong — the Legislative Union. No doubt the State Church is 
a monstrous wrong, and its maintenance is incompatible with 
the mutual good feeling of the two great sections of the Irish 
people. I wish with all my heart that the word " Protestant" 
and " Catholic," as symbols of political party, could be oblite- 
rated from our vocabulary. This can be only effected in Ireland 
by the total and final separation of religion from the State. 

The Saturday Review also says that injustice to Ireland is 
merely a matter of past history. It admits indeed that grie- 
vances existed at a former period. "But to our minds," it 
proceeds to say, " all that is passed now. We have turned 
over a new leaf. We have for some years tried to govern 
Ireland as a part of England, as justly, as patiently, as 
mildly as we could. The case for an aggrieved, a separate, 
an alien Ireland has passed away." 



PREFACE, Xi 

This self-complacent journal is unable to comprehend 
"why discontent exists in Ireland. " We have," it seems to 
say, " done our best for your ungrateful nation. We have 
destroyed your parliament, and yet you are not satisfied. 
We have thereby trebled the absentee drain, extinguishing 
numberless home sources of industrial profit — yet you are not 
satisfied. We extort from your poverty an enormous tribute — 
yet you are not satisfied. We make you pay a smart share of 
our own pre-Union debt-charge — yet you are not satisfied. We 
have drawn off to England the Irish surplus revenue, which 
the Act of Union promised should be appropriated to Irish 
purposes exclusively — yet you are not satisfied. We meet 
your demand for the redress of these grievances with chi- 
canery and insolence ; we call you sturdy beggars, and we mys- 
tify financial statements — yet you are not satisfied. We have 
got hold of your manufacture market — yet you are not satis- 
fied. We have governed you in such a mode that your race 
seems in a fair way of being expelled from their native coun- 
try, much to the delight of the leading organ of British opi- 
nion — yet you are not satisfied. incorrigible nation of 
grumblers, how is it possible you can be discontented or un- 
grateful when we lavish such blessings on you ? For, look 
you ! this is governing Ireland as if she were part of Eng- 
land." 

The free paraphrase I have given of the words of the Satur- 
day Review shows, not unfairly, the contrast between English 
opinion and Irish fact. The journalist innocently says : "We 
have for some years tried to govern Ireland as a part of Eng- 
land." The experiment has not brought prosperity to Ire- 
land. Nor is it possible that it could. For Ireland is not a 



gjj PREFACE. 

part of England. God has stamped on her the indestructible 
features of national individuality. Self-legislation is her vital 
need. To govern her, therefore, as a part of England is, in 
effect, to govern her for the benefit of England, and not for 
her own benefit. We protest against that ruinous spoliation 
of her wealth, that insulting suppression of her individuality, 
which are termed " governing her as a part of England." 
We demand that she shall be governed as a distinct nation, 
with separate needs and separate rights, in accordance with 
the principles of the Irish Constitution of 1782, which, not- 
withstanding great obstructive influences, diffused unexampled 
prosperity through the nation during the period of its con- 
tinuance. 

In a part of the article of the Saturday Review to which I 
have referred, the writer, speaking of a projected Fenian in- 
vasion of Canada, says : " Fortunately, the Canadians, by an 
overwhelming majority, are firmly attached to British rule." 
So they may well be. For the Canadians enjoy a free parlia- 
ment, free education, a free soil, and free churches. They 
are not robbed of their revenue for British uses. But Cana- 
dian attachment to Great Britain would sustain a rude shock 
if the imperial government attempted to rule Canada upon the 
present Irish model ; if it tried to govern Canada u as a part 
of England" — in other words, to destroy her legislature, rifle 
her exchequer, set the Anglican Church astride on the backs 
of the Canadians, and in every department of the state make 
English prejudice, English theory, or English sentiment su- 
persede Canadian opinion. 

Among the most rational notions I have seen expressed by 
English journalists on Irish affairs, is the following dictum of 



PREFACE. XXU 

the Fall Mall Gazette in an article on Fenianism in Septem- 
ber, 1865 : " The real prospect for Ireland is that of becom- 
ing in course of time a cik-Atlantic Lower Canada. It will no 
more amalgamate heartily with England than oil with water ; 
but there is no reason why we should not be perfectly good 
friends, and very -useful and convenient neighbours." 

Not the least reason, if Ireland were treated as Canada is 
treated. Not the least reason, if Ireland had but the fair 
play of self-legislation, which is her indefeasible right. To 
call this dismemberment is to suppose that Foster, Grattan, 
Saurin, Ponsonby, and the other great opponents of the 
Union, were enemies of British connexion, instead of being, 
as they were, its firm friends. 

The instinct of every Irishman — unless he is influenced by 
sectarian animosities and fears — will impel him not only to 
abhor the destruction of his country's legislature, but to hate 
the destroyer also. There never was a greater blunder than 
to call the Union a bond of international affection. "When I 
was a boy of ten years old, I was told by my seniors that we 
once had a parliament in Ireland, and that English influence 
extinguished it. I candidly acknowlege that my immediate im- 
pulse was to regard England with resentful abhorrence. Reli- 
gious prejudices had nothing to do with the matter, for I was 
born of a Protestant family. I do not state this from the 
absurd notion that any importance attaches to myself or my 
sentiments. I make the avowal because it records and explains 
my individual participation in a sentiment that at this mo- 
ment actuates millions, at home, in America, and in the colo- 
nies, and which, by its general diffusion, assumes an aspect 
that is anything but contemptible. 



XIV . PREFACE. 

Disendowment of the State Church, Security of Tenure, 
and other minor measures of relief, would doubtless mitigate 
some of the external symptoms of the national malady. But 
nothing short of the restoration of the Irish Constitution — of 
the exclusive government of the Irish people by the Queen, 
Lords, and Commons of Ireland — can reach the root of the 
disease. 

Kileasean, November, 1867. 



EEEATA. 



At p. 59, line 24, for foundation read fountain. 
At p. 130, line 12, for inquiry read inquiries. 



IRELAND 

AND 

HER AGITATORS. 



CHAPTER I. 

•'For close designs and crooked counsels fit." 

AESAXOil AND ACHITOPHEL. 

Among the traditionary anecdotes of the Union struggle, it is 
told that when Lord Castlereagh visited Mr. Shapland Carew, 
the member for the county of Wexford, in order to offer him 
a peerage and some other more substantial advantages, as in- 
ducements to vote for the Legislative Union, Mr. Carew indig- 
nantly exclaimed : "I will expose your insolent offer in the 
House of Commons to-night ; I will get up in my place and 
charge you with the barefaced attempt to corrupt a legis- 
lator." 

Castlereagh coolly replied : " Do so, if you will. But if you 
do, I will immediately get up and contradict you in presence 
of the House. I will declare, upon my honour, that you have 
uttered a falsehood ; and I shall follow up that declaration by 
demanding satisfaction as soon as we are beyond the reach of 
the serjeant-at-arms." 

Mr. Carew, it is said, desired the noble Secretary of State 
to get out of his house with all possible expedition, on pain of 
being kicked down the hall-door steps by his footman. Castle- 
reagh accordingly withdrew, but Carew did not execute his 
threat of exposing the transaction to the House. It were idle 
to speculate on the motives which induced him to practise that 
forbearance. The incident vividly illustrates the desperate 
and unprincipled determination with which the government 
and its tool pursued their object. 

The Irish aristocracy and gentry of that period were a race 
of men who lived high, drank hard, fought duels, and often 
pursued a career of reckless extravagance. These habits were 
generated by their situation, which rendered them, to a very 
considerable extent, the irresponsible monopolists of local 
power. They largely partook of the national taste for splen- 

1 



2 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



dour and magnificence — a taste which, duly regulated, tends 
to adorn the land and to refine and civilize the people ; hut 
which, in the circumstances then affecting the upper classes in 
Ireland, ensnared its votaries into that wasteful and ruinous 
expenditure which threw so many of their number upon the 
worst expedients of political corruption to retrieve their shat- 
tered fortunes. 

The penal laws had worked a most disastrous separation of 
the people from the gentry. The dominant Protestant party — 
the jovial, fox-hunting, claret- drinking squirearchy — all looked 
down on the great mass of their Catholic countrymen as a 
totally inferior race of beings, intended by God Almighty for 
the inheritance of serfdom, and with whom it would be a de- 
gradation to suppose they could have the least community of 
interest. They were trained from the cradle to look thus 
scornfully on the Catholics. Contempt was a doctrine of their 
political bible. 

On the part of the Catholics, the moral consequences of 
the penal gulf that divided them from their more favoured 
countrymen, were various, according to the varying disposi- 
tions of men. There was, amongst some, the reaction of deep 
and deadly hate. Others were awed into a social idolatry of 
Protestants. I knew one most respectable and very wealthy 
Catholic merchant, who declared that when a boy at school, 
about the year 1780, he felt overwhelmed and bewildered at 
the honour of being permitted to play marbles with a Protes- 
tant schoolfellow. Every Protestant cobbler and tinker con- 
ceived himself superior to the Catholic of ancient lineage and 
ample inheritance. No wonder that there should have been 
offensive assumption on the one side, and rankling animosity 
as well as degrading servility on the other, when the law placed 
all the good things of the state in the hands of the few, and ex- 
cluded the many from all participation in place, power, and 
emolument. 

The Protestant aristocracy of Ireland wanted that wholesome 
check, that strong guarantee of political honesty, which would 
have arisen from contact with, and representative dependence 
on, the people. A whole people never can be bribed. But the 
people — the Catholic masses of Ireland — were a political non- 
entity for nearly the whole century. They formed no element 
of power — no ingredient in the speculating politician's calcula- 
tions ; a Lord Chancellor announced that the law of the land 
assumed their non-existence. And even after some of the 
restrictions on Catholics had been removed, the sentiment 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



3 



of Protestant contempt for Papists survived in full force, pre- 
venting that cordial coalition, that thorough mutual under- 
standing between the two classes, which alone could have 
availed to defeat the ministerial assault on Irish legislative 
independence. 

The Protestant nobility and squirearchy, half-fearing and 
entirely despising their disfranchised countrymen, had for a 
long time looked upon themselves rather in the light of an 
English garrison occupying Ireland than as the legitimate 
aristocracy of the country. The notorious Dr. Patrick 
Duigenan, in a speech against the Catholic claims, delivered in 
the House of Commons, 4th February, 1793, said, " In truth, 
the Protestants in Ireland are but a British garrison in an 
enemy's country."* Yet, despite the colossal power of cor- 
ruption, and the pernicious influence of religious bigotry, the 
very circumstance of their residing in, and making laws for 
Ireland, had begun to produce its natural results on the minds 
of her domestic rulers about the time of the American war ; 
the spark of patriotism had ignited the Protestant heart, and 
blazed up with dazzling brilliancy in the memorable and 
successful struggle of the Irish Volunteers for free trade and 
constitutional independence in 1782. 

But — fatal error ! — the Catholics were not incorporated into 
the constitution. Glorious and imposing was the superstruc- 
ture, but it was fated to perish, because its foundations were 
too narrow to sustain its weight. It did not rest on the broad 
basis of the people. Yet the Catholics had done their best to 
assist in achieving the triumph of that period. Dr. Duigenan, 
in the speech already cited, f bears the following testimony : 
"The Catholics," he says, "not only mixed with Protestants 
in most of the Volunteer corps throughout the kingdom, were 
regimented, carried arms publicly, and learned military tactics, 
but they formed themselves into large and numerous corps, 
well armed, accoutred, and instructed in military exercise, and 
marched, and appeared in military array on all occasions as 
other Volunteers. I saw myself a corps of Dublin Volunteers, 
called the Irish Brigade, nineteen in twenty of which were 
Catholics, march through the city of Dublin, and close to the 
gates of the Castle, the residence of his majesty's lieutenant, 
along with other Volunteers, to be reviewed in his majesty's 
Phoenix Park !" Elsewhere in the same speech the Doctor 

* Speech, page 51. I possess the Doctor's oration in the shape of a 
pamphlet, published at the time, 
t Pages 23, 24. 



4 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



says, " Thousands of Irish Catholics carried arms during the 
season of volunteering without having procured any license 
whatever."* 

This evidence of the active part borne by the Catholics in 
the national struggle to recover the Irish constitution, occurs 
in a speech directed against the admission of the Catholics to 
any of the privileges of the constitution they had helped to 
establish. Sir Jonah Barrington, in recording the activity 
of the Catholics in the Volunteer organization, acids that 
they placed themselves under the command of Protestant 
officers. f 

The Protestant patriotism of 1782 was a gallant and a 
goodly display ; yet it presented some anomalous features. 
There was in it a great deal real, and something illusory. It 
was a curious sight, that of men in arms to enfranchise their 
country, yet resolved to perpetuate the disfranchisement of 
the great body of its inhabitants ; men in arms to assert the 
honour and dignity of Ireland, yet entertaining a cordial con- 
tempt for five out of every six of its people. In truth, the 
Protestants had been so long accustomed to omit the Catholics 
from their political arithmetic, that they had learned to look 
upon themselves — being then about one- sixth — as forming the 
sum- total of the Irish nation. The thunder of Grattan had 
not yet shaken the strongholds of their bigotry. Their ambi- 
tion culminated in the establishment of a free constitution of 
whose political benefits they were to be the monopolists. 

Another anomaly was to be found in the fact that the 
bitterest enemies of Catholic Emancipation were sometimes 
the most strenuous champions of theoretic Irish independence. 
At a meeting of some of the friends of the Volunteer move- 
ment, held in their house in Grafton-street, which Flood, 
Grattan, and Bartholomew Hoare attended, Flood, whose 
hostility to the Catholic claims was inflexible, proposed to his 
confreres a plan of total separation from England. Grattan 
said, "If you persevere in your proposition, I certainly shall 
not oppose it here ; but I shall quit this room, and proceed 
at once to the Castle — to my sovereign's Castle — and there 
disclose the treason, and denounce the traitor." 

Yet Flood, the separatist, could not tolerate the notion of 
emancipating the Catholics ; whilst Grattan, the zealous friend 
of the Catholics, and the champion of a free Irish parliament 
in connexion with the British crown, denounced the ultra 

* Page 49. f " Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation/' chap. xvi. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



5 



patriotism of the Protestant ascendancy statesman as treason. 
Flood, I need not add, withdrew his proposition.* 

Emancipation, under an Irish parliament, would have 
speedily blended all classes of religionists in one political 
mass. But the Catholics continued unemancipated ; the Pro- 
testants remained a separate and exclusive band, distinct from 
and rarely sympathising with their fellow-countrymen. Thus 
placed far aloof from the people, there was little to countervail 
the corrupting influence of a profligate court with which they 
were brought into close contact, and which derived immense 
facilities of corruption from the number of pocket-boroughs in 
the Irish House of Commons. With an unreformed parlia- 
ment and an unemancipated people, the distributors of place 
and pension enjoyed an easy sway. The pension list was 
swollen to an enormous magnitude ; the number of sinecures 
incessantly augmented ; and parliamentary profligacy came at 
last to be so general, that men lost all sense of its shame 
through the force of its prevalence. 

Whilst the government thus practised corruption on the 
largest scale, there w r ere social vices peculiar to the period 
which extensively prevailed amongst the upper ranks. Of 
these practices the principal were duelling and drinking, which 
were carried to an excess happily now almost incredible. 
There was something exceedingly bizarre in the notions and 
habits of a first-rate bacchanalian duellist. Take, for a spe- 
cimen, Mr. Bagenal of Dunleckny in the county Carlow — 
King Bagenal, as he was called throughout his extensive ter- 
ritories ; and within their bounds no monarch was ever more 
absolute. Of high Norman lineage, of manners elegant, fas- 
cinating, polished by extensive intercourse with the great world, 
of princely income and of boundless hospitality, Mr. Bagenal 
possessed all the qualities and attributes calculated to procure 
for him popularity with every class. A terrestrial paradise 
was Dunleckny for all lovers of good wine, good horses, good 
dogs, and good society. His stud was magnificent, and he 
had a large number of capital hunters at the service of visitors 
who were not provided with steeds of their own. He derived 
great delight from encouraging the young men who frequented 
his house to hunt, drink, and solve points of honour at twelve 
paces. His politics were popular ; he was the mover of the 
grant of £50,000 to Grattan in 1782. He was at that time 
member for the county Carlow. 

* This anecdote was told me by O'Connell, to whom it had been 
narrated by Bartholomew Hoare, one of the persons present on the occa- 
sion referred to. 



6 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Enthroned at Dunleckny, he gathered around him a host 
of spirits congenial to his own. He had a tender affection for 
pistols ; a brace of which implements, loaded, were often laid 
before him on the dinner-table. After dinner the claret was 
produced in an unbroached cask ; Bagenal's practice was to 
tap the cask with a bullet from one of his pistols, whilst he 
kept the other pistol in ierrorem for any of the convives who 
should fail in doing ample justice to the wine. 

Nothing could be more impressive than the bland, fatherly, 
affectionate air with which the old gentleman used to impart 
to his junior guests the results of his own experience, and the 
moral lessons which should regulate their conduct through life. 

" In truth, my young friends, it behoves a youth entering 
the world to make a character for himself. Respect will only 
be accorded to character. A young man must show his proofs. 
I am not a quarrelsome person — I never w 7 as — I hate your mere 
duellist ; but experience of the world tells me that there are 
knotty points of which the only solution is the saw-handle. 
Rest upon your pistols, my boys ! Occasions will arise in 
which the use of them is absolutely indispensable to character. 
A man, I repeat, must show his proofs — in this world courage 
will never be taken upon trust. I protest to heaven, my dear 
young friends, that I advise you exactly as I should advise my 
own son." 

And having thus discharged his conscience, he would look 
blandly round upon his guests with the most patriarchal air 
imaginable. 

His practice accorded with his precept. Some pigs, the 
property of a gentleman who had recently settled near Dun- 
leckny, strayed into an enclosure of King Bagenal's, and 
rooted up a flower-knot. The incensed monarch ordered that 
the porcine trespassers should be shorn of their ears and tails ; 
and he transmitted the severed appendages to the owner of 
the swine, with an intimation that he, too, deserved to have 
his ears docked ; and that only he had not got a tail, he (King 
Bagenal) would sever the caudal member from his dorsal ex- 
tremity. " Now," quoth Bagenal, " if he's a gentleman he 
must burn powder after such a message as that." Nor was 
he disappointed. A challenge was given by the owner of the 
pigs ; Bagenal accepted it with alacrity, only stipulating that 
as he was old and feeble, being then in his seventy-ninth year, 
he should fight sitting in his arm-chair; and that, as his infir- 
mities prevented early rising, the meeting should take place in 
the afternoon. " Time was," said the old man with a sigh, 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



7 



" that I would have risen before daybreak to fight at sunrise — 
but we cannot do these things at seventy-eight. W ell, heaven's 
will be done !" 

They fought at twelve paces. Bagenal wounded his anta- 
gonist severely ; the arm of the chair in which he sat was 
shattered, but he escaped unhurt ; and he ended the day with 
a glorious carouse, tapping the claret, we may presume, as 
usual, by firing a pistol at the cask. 

The traditions of Dunleckny allege that when Bagenal, in 
the course of his tour through Europe, visited the petty court 
of Mecklenburgh-Strelitz, the Grand Duke, charmed with his 
magnificence and the reputation of his wealth, made him an 
offer of the hand of the fair Charlotte, who, being politely 
rejected by King Bagenal, was afterwards accepted by King 
George III. 

Such was the lord of Dunleckny, and such was many an 
Irish squire of the day. Recklessness characterized the time. 
And yet there was a polished courtesy, a high-bred grace in 
the manners of men who imagined that to shoot, or to be shot 
at on " the sod," was an indispensable ingredient in the cha- 
racter of a gentleman. Look at Bagenal, nearly fourscore, 
seated at the head of his table. You observe the refined 
urbanity of his manner, and the dignified air which is enhanced, 
not impaired, by the weight of years. You perceive that the 
patriarchal Mentor, whose milk-white tresses evidence his 
venerable age, is mildly and courteously pouring forth his lore 
for the edification of his audience. You draw near to parti- 
cipate in the instructions of the ancient moralist. What a 
shock — half ludicrous, half horrible — to find that he inculcates 
the necessity of practice with the hair-triggers as the grand 
primary virtue which forms the gentleman ! 

At a somewhat later period the same extravagant ideas pre- 
vailed. At a contested election for the county of Cork, the 
well-known " Bully Egan" fought fourteen duels. Pugnacious 
barristers, whose knowledge of law was not very profound, 
sometimes made large sums of money at elections where fight- 
ing counsel were required. Elections in those days often 
lasted a fortnight or three weeks, * and might average, if party 
or personal animosity ran high, from one to two duels a day. 
It accordingly was the policy of the candidates to select good 
shots for their counsel. Within the present century Mr. 
Thomas O'M was agent at a Clare election, where he 

* Occasionally longer. It is stated that Lord Castlereagh's first election 
for the county of Down lasted for forty-two days, and cost £00,000. 



8 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



conducted the business of his client in a style so pacific as to 
excite the astonishment of a friend who was aware of his fire- 
eating propensities. " Why, Tom," said his friend, " you 
are marvellously quiet. How does it happen that you haven't 
got into any rumpus ?" 

" Because my client does not pay me fighting price/' replied 
Tom with the most business-like air in the world. The tariff 
included two scales of payment for election counsel — the talk- 
ing price and the fighting price.* These delirious notions 
were undoubtedly the indirect results of the anomalous posi- 
tion of the " Protestant garrison " of Ireland — of their immense 
and irresponsible social power, and of the lax, devil-may-care 
morality systematically acted on in the government of the 
country by successive adminstrations. 



CHAPTER II. 

"Of that system of coercion which preceded the late insurrection in Ireland, of the 
huming of villages, hanging their inhabitants, transporting persons suspected with- 
out trial, strangling and whipping to extort confession, and billeting the military at 
free quarters in districts in which individuals had been disorderly, his lordship (Char- 
lemont) has been uniformly the declared enemy." 

Memoir of Lord Charlemont in " Public Characters of 1798." Dublin, 1799. 

It is sometimes weakly urged that the venality of the last 
Irish parliament is a perpetual disqualifier of the Irish people 
from the right of self-legislation. It might as well be said 
that the owner of an estate was disqualified from the rights of 
possession by the rascality of his agent. The Irish people 
had nothing to do with the venality of their legislators. The 
sin was not theirs, nor should its punishment be visited on 
them. And in the last grand struggle, the men who really 
were their representatives — the men who were returned for 
open, popular constituencies — nearly all voted against the 
ministerial project, and for the preservation of the Irish par- 
liament. 

*At an election for the county of Wexford in 1810, when Messrs. 
Alcock and Colclough were rival candidates, some tenants of a friend of 
Alcock declared their intention of voting for Colclough. " Receive their 
votes at your peril I" exclaimed Alcock. Colclough replied that he had 
not asked their votes, and that he certainly would not be bullied into re- 
jecting them. Alcock thereupon challenged Colclough to fight ; they met 
on the next day ; the crowd who assembled on the ground included many 
magistrates ; Colclough was shot through the heart, and Alcock having 
thus got rid of his opponent was duly returned for the county. He was 
tried at the next assizes for the murder of Colclough. Baron Smith 
publicly protested against finding him guilty, and the jury unanimously 
acquitted him. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



9 



In glancing, however rapidly, at the Repeal agitation, we 
should not lose sight of that which is for ever uppermost in 
the mind of every Irish Repealer — namely, that the Union is 
the offspring of conjoined fraud and force — that the means by 
which it was achieved were such as would inevitably vitiate 
any private transaction between two individuals. That Lord 
Castlereagh found many nominees for pocket boroughs, many 
borough proprietors who were not so impracticable as Mr. 
Shapland Garew, was by no means the worst feature in the 
case. The machinery of crime which was to effectuate the 
Union had been long in preparation. "With respect to the 
turbulent condition of Ireland for some years prior to the 
Union — with respect to the share the government had in pro- 
ducing that turbulence, I shall not enter into lengthened details. 
The following brief statements must suffice. 

The government goaded the people to rebellion in order 
that the popular strength might be paralysed by civil war and 
its attendant horrors, so as to enable Mr. Pitt to force the 
Legislative Union on the prostrate and divided people. So 
far back as 1792, Edmund Burke had used these remarkable 
words : "By what I learn, the Castle considers the outlawry 
(or at least what I look on as such) of the great mass of the 
people of Ireland as an unalterable maxim in the government 
of Ireland." 

The Presbyterian population, principally fixed in Ulster, 
demanded a reform of the House of Commons. The Catholics, 
outnumbering all the other bodies of religionists, demanded 
the full rights of citizenship. The nationalists of all creeds 
who composed the confederation of United Irishmen would at 
the outset have been perfectly satisfied by the concession of 
these just demands. It appears from Tone's autobiography 
that the Irish public did not ask for separation from England, 
for he tells us that when he published a pamphlet in which 
separation was propounded, he found that the public mind 
had not advanced to that point, "and my pamphlet," he adds, 
" made not the smallest impression."* 

The efficacy of a thorough reform in allaying discontent is 
stated also by Arthur O'Connor to the Secret Committees of 
the Lords and Commons by whom he was examined in 1798. 
His words are these : 

"Restore the vital principle of the constitution which you 
have destroyed, by restoring to the people the choice of repre- 

* " Life and Writings of Theobald Wolfe Tone," page 33. M'Cormick's 
edition. 



10 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



sentatives who shall control the executive by frugal grants of 
the public money and by exacting a rigid account of its expen- 
diture. Let the people have representatives they can call 
friends — men in whom they can place confidence — men they 
have really chosen— men chosen for such a time that if they 
should attempt to betray them, they may speedily have an op- 
portunity of discarding them. Give us such a House of Com- 
mons, and I will answer for the tranquillity of the country." 

And again O'Connor says, ' ' All we wanted was to create a 
House of Commons which should represent the whole people 
of Ireland ; and for that purpose we strove to dispel all reli- 
gious distinctions from our political union."* 

To exasperate the friends of reform, not only by an insolent 
rejection of their claims, but also by a shameless perseverance 
in the practices of parliamentary corruption, became a settled 
part of the policy of government. It was likewise resolved 
to exasperate the Catholics, who, according to Tone, required 
nothing more than equal justice to render them thoroughly 
peaceable and loyal. I quote the words of Tone, who, the 
reader will remember, was a Protestant. 

"The Dissenters," he says, "from the early character of 
their sect, were mostly republicans from principle. The great 
mass of the Catholics only became so from oppression and 
persecution. Had they not been goaded by tyranny in every 
hour and in every act of their lives, had they been freely ad- 
mitted to an equal share in the benefits of the [Irish] constitu- 
tion, they would have become by the very spirit of their religion, 
the most peaceable, obedient, orderly, and well-aflectioned 
subjects of the empire. Their proud and old gentry, and their 
clergy, inclined even rather to feudal and chivalrous, and 
somewhat to Tory principles, than to democracy. But com- 
mon sufferings now united them in a common hatred of the 
government, and desire for its subversion, "f 

Opposed to the just demands of reform and Catholic eman- 
cipation were the powerful parties who enjoyed the great 
pecuniary profits of parliamentary corruption, and the monopoly 
of office and of political influence which reform and emancipa- 
tion would necessarily terminate. The monopolists and bigots 
were supported by the whole power of the English government 
against the great majority of their fellow-countrymen. In such 
a state of things, it was not difficult for an able and unscrupu- 

* Madden's " United Irishmen," Second Series, pp, 324, 325, octavo 
edition. 

t Life of Tone, ut supra, p. 90. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



11 



lous minister to embroil this kingdom in a civil war, the re- 
sults of which might facilitate his favourite scheme of a Union. 
By encouraging political profligacy in the Irish parliament, he 
might hope to render that body unpopular with the Irish nation. 
By playing off contending parties against each other, and in- 
flaming their mutual hostility, he might hope to make the 
Catholics look upon the rule of an English parliament as a 
smaller evil than the Orange brutality to which he took good 
care they should be subjected at home. 

The Report of the Secret Committee of the Irish House of 
Commons, printed " by authority " in 1798, affirms that by 
the original papers seized at Belfast in the month of April, 
1797, the numbers of United Irishmen in the province of 
Ulster alone were stated to amount to nearly 100,000. 
Throughout the writings of Wolfe Tone, we find Ulster in- 
variably named as the first and best prepared province in the 
revolutionary movement, of which the nucleus was in Belfast . 
It seems to have been considered by the English cabinet that 
the Catholics would be more effectually stimulated to unite 
with the northern conspirators, by alternating their " outlawry " 
with premises of speedy and complete emancipation ; by then 
suddenly dispelling the hopes thus excited, and recurring to a 
system of barbarous persecution. This game was adroitly 
played. On the 15th October, 1794, the illustrious Grattan 
had an interview with Pitt on Irish affairs. " Mr. Grattan,'* 
says his sou, " stated to him what his party desired, and 
mentioned the measures that he thought Ireland required. 
The essential one was the Catholic question." With regard 
to the Catholic question, Mr. Pitt used these words — "not to 
bring it forward as a government measure ; but if government 
were pressed, to yield it."* Mr. Grattan observes that this 
was unquestionably a concession of the Catholic question, for 
Pitt well knew the question would be pressed. We have Earl 
Fitzwilliam's authority for the fact that Pitt and his cabinet 
empowered his lordship, when accepting the viceroyalty of 
Ireland, to support the claims of the Catholics. In his letter 
to the Earl of Carlisle he says, " It was at the same time re- 
solved that if the Catholics should appear determined to stir 
the business, and to bring it before Parliament, I was to give 
it a handsome support on the part of the G[overnmen]t."f 
Pitt, in fact, included the full emancipation of the Catholics 
in the programme settled between the King's ministry and 

* " Life of Grattan/' by his Son, vol. iv. p. 177. 

f Earl Fitzwilliam's Letter to the Earl of Carlisle, p. 4, Dublin, 1795. 



12 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Earl Fitzwilliam, previously to that nobleman's departure from 
London to assume the reins of government in Ireland. And 
Earl Fitzwilliam tells us that on no other terms would he 
have accepted the office of Viceroy.* But Pitt had no other 
intention than that of driving the Catholics to desperation by 
disappointing the hopes thus treacherously excited. On the 
8th of February, 1795, the Duke of Portland wrote to the 
Viceroy to say that Emancipation was to be postponed, and 
that its postponement would be 6 ' the means of doing a greater 
service to the British empire than it has been capable of re- 
ceiving since the Revolution, or at least since the [Scotch] 
Union."f The " greater service" thus indicated was the 
destruction of the Irish parliament. 

The reader will remember that in 1792 Mr. Burke said that 
the treatment received by the Catholics amounted, in his judg- 
ment, to outlawry. In 1795 Lord Fitzwilliam, during his short 
viceroyalty, warned Pitt's cabinet, in a letter to the Duke of 
Portland, that the course pursued by Pitt, would, if persevered 
in, 44 raise a flame in the country that nothing short of arms 
could be able to keep down ; "| and he addressed a letter to 
the Earl of Carlisle, printed in 1795, in which, after referring 
to the ministerial policy, he proceeds to ask, " must the minister 
of England boldly face, I had almost said the certainty of 
driving this kingdom into a rebellion, and open another breach 
for ruin and destruction to break in upon us ? "§ 

Lord Fit z william's remonstrances do honour to his heart 
and to his statesmanship. He might, however, have spared 
them. A rebellion was just what Pitt wanted. The mutual 

* I quote Earl Fitzwilliam's words, from his Letter to the Earl of Carl- 
isle, printed in a pamphlet, Dublin, 1795 : " From a full consideration of 
the real merits of the case, as well as from every information I had been 
able to collect of the state and temper of Ireland, from the year 1793, I 
was decidedly of opinion that not only sound policy, but justice, required, 
on the part of Great Britain, that the work which was left imperfect at 
that period ought to be completed, and the Catholics relieved from every 
remaining: disqualification. In this opinion the Duke of P[oriland] uni- 
formly concurred with me; and when this question came under discussion 
previous tj my departure from Ireland, I found the cabinet, with Mr. 
P[itt] at their head, strongly impre ssed with the same conviction. Had I 
found it otherwise, I never would have undertaken the g[overnmen]t." 
(Letter, pp. 2, 3.) The Duke of Portland was then principal Secretary of 
State for the Home Department; Mr. Pitt was Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

f Letter to the Earl of Carlisle, p. 14. 

Jin Earl Fitzwiliiam's Letter to the Earl of Carlisle, p. 17, he states 
that e addressed that warning to the Duke of Portland. 

§ Letter to the Earl of Carlisle, p. 24. The word " certainty " was 

italic ^ed by his lordship. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



13 



atrocities it would produce were certain to inflame the recipro- 
cal animosities of the belligerents to a pitch of fury, and fur- 
nish a convenient pretext for introducing martial law and 
overwhelming the kingdom with troops. Under the reign of 
terror thus established, the task of destroying the Irish parlia- 
ment would be comparatively easy. 

Pitt calculated that if Emancipation were persistently denied 
to the Catholics in the Irish legislature, their support of an 
Union might be purchased by holding out a hope that the im- 
perial parliament would enfranchise them. Accordingly, on 
the 29th January 1799, when the ministerial policy had suffi- 
ciently ripened, the Duke of Portland wrote to Lord Castlereagh 
as follows : " Catholic Emancipation must not be granted but 
through the medium of an Union, and by the means of an 
united parliament."* Xext day (30th) the Duke wrote again 
more strongly to the same effect. The Viceroy (Marquis 
Cornwallis) had previously written to the Duke of Portland, 
" Were the Catholic question to be now carried, the great argu- 
ment for an Union would be lost, at least so far as the Catholics 
are concerned."! 

Here we have the key to the " service" which Pitt's cabinet 
expected to derive from postponing the concession of the 
Catholic claims which Lord Fitzwilliam was instructed by Pitt 
to support in 1795, and which Pitt, in 1791:, had directly led 
Grattan to expect. 

A rebellion was deemed a useful means of laying waste the 
strength of this kingdom. But the desired outbreak was not to 
be left to the chance of mere political exasperation. Stronger 
provocatives than the breach of ministerial promises were to 
be applied to the Catholics. 

Lord Fitzwilliam, a man of high honour, could not act on 
Pitt's infernal policy. He was of course recalled, and replaced 
by a successor of adverse politics. This, in itself, was neces- 
sarily productive of great popular dissatisfaction ; but discon- 
tent was fearfully increased by the system of torture put in 
practice against the people in various districts. The following 
evidence, given by Lord Gosford, describes that system as it 
existed in 1795 and 1796 : 

" A persecution," says his lordship, J u accompanied with all 
the circumstances of ferocious cruelty, is now raging in this 
country. Neither age, nor sex, nor even acknowledged inno- 

* Cornwallis Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 59. flbid., iii. 54. 
X Address of Lord Gosford to the magistracy of Armagh, printed in 
the Dublin Journal, 5th January, 1796. 



u 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



cence, can excite mercy. The only crime which the wretched 
objects are charged with is the profession of the Roman 
Catholic faith. A lawless banditti have constituted themselves 
judges of this new delinquency, and the sentence they pronounce 
is equally concise and terrible ; it is nothing less than con- 
fiscation of property and immediate banishment. It would be 
painful to detail the horrors of this proscription — a proscrip- 
tion that exceeds, in the number of its victims, every example 
of ancient and modern history. For, when have we heard or 
read of more than half the inhabitants of a populous country 
being deprived of the fruits of their industry, and driven to 
seek shelter for themselves and their families where chance 
may guide them ? These horrors are now acting with impunity. 
The spirit of justice, without which law is tyranny, has dis- 
appeared in this country." 

The persecution LordGosford describes took place in 1795. 
The late Lord Holland, speaking of the recall of Earl Fitz- 
william from the viceroyalty, says : " His recall was hailed 
as a triumph by the Orange faction, and they contrived about 
the same time to get rid of Mr. Secretary Pelham, who, though 
somewhat time-serving, was a good-natured and a prudent man. 
Indeed, surrounded as they were with burning cottages, tor- 
tured backs, and frequent executions, they were yet full of 
their sneers at what they whimsically termed ' the clemency ' 
of the government, and the weak character of their Viceroy, 

Lord Camden The fact is incontrovertible, 

that the people of Ireland were driven to resistance, which 
possibly they meditated before, by the free quarters and ex- 
cesses of the soldiery, which were such as are not permitted 
in civilized warfare, even in an enemy's country."* 

The evidence of the Protestant Bishop of Down (Right Rev. 
Dr. Dickson), illustrative of some of the particular features of 
the system, is thus given by Lord Holland in the work now 
quoted : 

"Dr. Dickson assured me that he had seen families, return- 
ing peaceably from Mass, assailed without provocation by 
drunken troops and yeomanry, and the wives and daughters 
exposed to every species of indignity, brutality, and outrage, 
from which neither his remonstrances, nor those of other 
Protestant gentlemen, could rescue them. The subsequent 
Indemnity Acts deprived of redress the victims of this wide- 
spread cruelty." 

* " Memoirs of the Whig Party during my Time," by Lord Holland, 
edited by his Son. Longmans, 1852. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



15 



Of particular outrages committed on the people by the armed 
agents of power, the following quotation from Lord Moira will 
furnish illustrative specimens. " 1 have," says Lord Moira, 
6 ' known a man, in order to extort confession of a supposed 
crime, or of that of some neighbour, picketed till he actually 
fainted ; picketed a second time till he fainted again ; and 
when he came to himself, picketed a third time till he once 
more fainted ; and all this upon mere suspicion. Men had 
been taken and hung up till they were half dead, and afterwards 
threatened with a repetition of this treatment, unless they made 
a confession of their imputed guilt."* 

Lord Moira took care to state that the crimes he described 
were not isolated outrages. " These," said he, " were not par- 
ticular acts of cruelty, but formed part of the new system." 

The object of that system was to carry the Union. 

I add the testimony of Henry Grattan. On the 20th 
February, 1796, he said in the Irish House of Commons that 
it was " a persecution conceived in the bitterness of bigotry — 
carried on with the most ferocious barbarity by a banditti who, 
being of the religion of the state, had committed with greater 
audacity and confidence the most horrid murders, and had 
proceeded from robbery and massacre to extermination." 

The outrages referred to in the above passage were chiefly 
committed in the county Armagh. Grattan, in an address to 
his fellow- citzens in 1797, enumerates among the crimes with 
which he charges government, " The order to the military to 
act without waiting for the civil power ; the imprisonment of 
the middle orders without law ; the detaining them in prison 
without bringing them to trial ; the transporting them without 
law ; burning their houses ; burning their villages ; murdering 
them ; crimes many of which are public, and many committed 
which are concealed by the suppression of a free press by 

military force ; finally, the introduction of 

practices not only unknown to law, but unknown to civilized 
and Christian countries." 

Plowden tells us in his " History of Ireland," that in the be- 
ginning of 1796 " it was generally believed that 7,000 Catholics 
had been forced or burned out of the county of Armagh, and 

* Speech of Lord Moira in the British House of Lords. 22nd November, 
1797. Lord Moira, on the 2nd December, 1797, wrote as follows to the 
Hon. Valentine Lawless : " You have truly observed, that in my recital, 
I suppressed many of the grossest instances of outrage, with the details 
of which I could not but be acquainted." (Fitzpatrick's " Life of Lord Clon- 
curry," p. 150.) 



16 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



that the ferocious banditti who had expelled them had been 
encouraged, connived at, and protected by the government."* 

In the examination of the United Irishmen by the Secret 
Committees of the Lords and Commons, the Lord Chancellor 
asks Emmet, " What caused the late rebellion?" To which 
question Emmet answers, "The free quarters, the house- 
burnings, the tortures, and the military executions, in the 
counties of Kildare, Caiiow, and Wicklow."f 

Arthur O'Connor, in his examination before the Secret 
Committees of the Lords and Commons in 1798, complains of 
"the uniform system of coercion and opposition which had 
been pursued from 1793 by the Irish government against the 
Irish people;" and on being asked to state the object contem- 
plated by the United Irishmen in organizing their society, he 
answers in the following words : "We saw with sorrow that the 
cruelties practised by the Irish government had raised a dread- 
ful spirit of revenge in the hearts of the people ; we saw with 
horror that, to answer their immediate views, the Irish govern- 
ment had renewed the old religious feuds ; we were most 
anxious to have such authority as the organization afforded, 
constituted to prevent the dreadful transports of popular fury." 

A member of the committee (apparently Lord Castlereagh) 
remarks that "government had nothing to do with the Orange 
system nor their oath of extermination." To which O'Connor 
thus replies : " You, my lord" [Castlereagh], "from the station 
you fill, must be sensible that the executive of any country has 
it in its power to collect a vast mass of information, and you 
must know from the secret nature and the zeal of the Union, 
that its executive must have the most minute information of 
every act of the Irish government. As one of the executive, 
it came to my knowledge that considerable sums of money 
were expended throughout the nation in endeavouring to ex- 
tend the Orange system, and that the Orange oath of extermi- 
nation was administered. When these facts are coupled, not 
only with the general impunity which has been uniformly ex- 
tended towards all the acts of this infernal association, but 
[with] the marked encouragement its members have received 
from government, I find it impossible to exculpate the govern- 
ment from being the parent and protector of these sworn extir- 
pators."! 

O'Connor's reasoning upon this point is irresistible. The 

* Plowden's History, vol. ii. p. 377. 

fSee Madden's " United Irishmen/' First Series, p. 111. 

t Madden's 1 4 United Irishmen," Second Series, 8vo. pp. 318, 319. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



17 



government were merely carrying out Pitt's policy. Of that 
policy Lord Holland's opinion may be learned from the follow- 
ing passage in the work already quoted: " My approbation," 
says his lordship, "of Lord Edward Fitzgerald's actions 
remains unaltered and unshaken. His country was bleeding 
under one of the hardest tyrannies that our times have wit- 
nessed." 

As to the administration of the law, it was not very easy 
for the people to repose confidence in its justice when such an 
incident as the following could occur. In the spring of 1797, 
Solicitor-General Toler, afterwards Lord Norbury, presided 
during the illness of one of the judges in the criminal court at 
the assizes for the county Kildare. Captain Frazer, a Scotch- 
man, was prosecuted for the murder of a peasant named 
Christopher Dixon, under the following circumstances. Part 
of the county of Kildare near Carberry was at that time 
proclaimed. Other parts w T ere exempt from proclamation. 
There was a flying camp in the proclaimed part, consisting 
of the Frazer fencibles, under the command of Captain Frazer. 
One night on his return through Cloncurry to the camp, from 
a jovial dinner-party at Maynooth, Frazer saw Dixon repairing 
a cart by the road side. Thinking that he was in his own pro- 
claimed district, he seized Dixon for being out after sunset, 
and made him mount behind the orderly dragoon in attendance, 
with the purpose of taking him to the camp to flog. Passing 
a turnpike gate, Dixon asserted that the proclamation did not 
extend to the district in which he had been found, at the same 
time appealing to the gatekeeper to confirm his assertion. 
The gatekeeper said that the district in question had not been 
proclaimed ; upon which Dixon descended from the crupper 
of the orderly's horse and went towards home. Frazer and 
the dragoon furiously pursued him, and gave him sixteen 
wounds, of which seven or eight were mortal. A coroner's 
jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against the homicides. 
A neighbouring magistrate, Mr. Thomas Ryan, endeavoured 
to take Frazer, but his soldiers resisted. Mr. Ryan reported 
the facts to Lord Cloncurry, who was then in Dublin, and who 
directed his son, the Hon. Valentine Lawless, to visit the 
Commander of the Forces, Lord Carhampton, in order to de- 
mand the body of Frazer in pursuance of the provisions of the 
Mutiny Act. Mr. Lawless made the demand in presence of 
Mr. Ryan, and of Colonel (afterwards General Sir George) 
Cockburn. Lord Carhampton refused to give up Frazer. Mr. 
Lawless thereupon told his lordship that Fiazer was ipso facto 
cashiered. 



IS 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



At the assizes Frazer went voluntarily to be tried. * His 
approach to the court-house was a sort of ovation, for he 
was attended by a military band playing " Croppies, lie 
down." 

Mr. Toler presided. On the bench beside him sat the late 
Duke of Leinster, the unfortunate Lord Edward Fitzgerald, 
and Mr. Lawless. The facts of the case were distinctly proved 
by unexceptionable witnesses. There were many persons 
examined, who deposed to the good and peaceable character 
of the deceased, his exemption from all " treasonable" ma- 
chinations, and his general habits of morality and industry. 
There were also witnesses upon the other side who testified to 
the admirable characters of Captain Frazer and the orderly 
dragoon, investing them especially with the military virtues. 

Mr. Toler charged home for an acquittal. He regretted the 
homicide — it was very unfortunate — good, respectable man- 
worthy character, and so forth — witnesses of unimpeachable 
credit had said so. " There had, however, been witnesses who 
gave a most admirable character to the gallant captain in the 
dock, which the jury could by no means overlook ; he was a brave 
and faithful soldier to his king — loyal — devoted — -in a word, the 
sort of person needed in this unhappy country at the present 
time. The occurrence for which he was tried was most deeply 
to be deplored ; he would not disparage the deceased — he 
would only say that if he had been as good as the witnesses 
for the prosecution had represented him, he was well out of 
a wicked world. If, on the contrary, he were a firebrand " [here 
Toler looked significantly at Mr. Lawless], " the world was well 
rid of him." 

A judicial dilemma well worthy of record. The jury ac- 
quitted Captain Frazer.* 

I shall add a few incidents — the results of the governmental 
policy of the period — recorded in the narrative of Miles Byrne, 
a native of the county Wexford ; one of those men who were 
goaded by intolerable persecution to join the insurgents. He 
subsequently went to France, and ended his days as chef-de- 
battailon in the French military service. I give the title of 
Miles Byrne's work below. f 

"Flogging, half-hanging, picketing," says Colonel Byrne, 

* I possess the above narrative in the handwriting of Valentine, second 
Lord Cloncurry, by whom it was kindly given to me with the purpose of 
being used in the first edition of the present work. For the infamous 
character of Lord Carhampton, see Fitzpatrick's " Sham Squire" and the 
Sequel to that work. 

fMemoirsof Miles Byrne, Chef-de-Battailon in the service of France, 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



19 



u were mild tortures in comparison of the pitch-caps that were 
applied to those who happened to wear their hair short, called 
croppies. The head being completely singed, a cap made of 
strong linen well imbued with boiling pitch was so closely put 
on, that it could not be taken off without bringing off a part 
of the skin and flesh from the head. In many instances the 
tortured victim had one of his ears cut off."* 

" In short, the state of the country previous to the insurrec- 
tion is not to be imagined except by those who witnessed the 
atrocities of every description committed by the military and 
the Orangemen who were let loose on the unfortunate, defence- 
less, and unarmed population. ''f 

Byrne mentions that among the loyalists most active in 
applying the pitch-cap was a clergyman named Owens. This 
reverend gentleman was afterwards seized at Gorey by the 
rebels, who applied the pitch-cap to himself. 

Among the more zealous and prominent Orangemen whose 
deeds are recorded by Byrne, Mr. Hunter Gowan of Mount 
Nebo and Captain Beaumont of Hyde Park hold a principal 
place. Of the former, Byrne gives us the following anecdote : 
"Hunter Gowan, justice of the peace, captain of a corps of 
yeoman cavalry, knowing that Patrick Bruslaun, a near neigh- 
bour of his, and with whom he had always lived on the most 
friendly terms, was confined to bed with a wound, rode to 
Bruslaun's house, knocked at the door, and asked Mrs. Brus- 
laun in the kindest manner respecting her husband's health. 
i You see,' said he, pointing to his troops drawn up at a dis- 
tance from the house, ' 1 would not let my men approach, lest 
they might do any injury. Conduct me to your husband's 
room ; I want to have a chat with poor Pat.' She, not having 
the least suspicion of what was to follow, ushered Gowan to 
her husband's bedside. He put out his hand, and after ex- 
changing some words with poor Bruslaun, deliberately took 
out his pistol and shot him through the heart. Turning round 
on his heel, he said to the unfortunate woman, * You will now 
be saved the trouble of nursing your damned rebel Popish 
husband.' These details I had from Mrs. Bruslaun's lips ; 
and how many more of the same kind could I not add to them, 
were it of any use now to look back to that awful epoch of 
English tyranny and slaughter in Ireland. "J 

Officer of the Legion of Honour, Knight of St. Louis, &c. Edited by his 
Widow. Paris: Gustave Bossange et Compagnie, 25 Quai Voltaire, 1863. 
The work is in three volumes. 

* Vol. i. p. 32. f Ibid., page 34. t Ibid-, vol. i. pp. 236, 237. 



20 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Of Captain Beaumont's loyal zeal we are given the following 
instance : the victims upon this occasion were the writer's 
uncle and cousin, Mr. Breen of Castletown, and his son : 
" Captain Beaumont of Hyde Park had both him and his son 
murdered in the presence of my aunt Breen and her four 
daughters, on the lawn before the hall-door. Beaumont, who 
was escorted by a detachment of cavalry, knocked at the door 
and asked to see my uncle, with whom he was on the most 
friendly terms. As soon as Mr. Breen came out, Beaumont's 
first question was ' Are your sons Pat and Miles at home V 
'Certainly; where should they be?' was the answer of the 
poor father. ' Well, let them appear, or those men who ac- 
company me won't believe it.' When they came out, the 
father and the eldest son, Pat, were placed on their knees and 
immediately shot. Miles, who was only sixteen years of age 
was sent prisoner to Arklow, and from thence aboard a guard 
ship in the bay of Dublin. No pen can describe the state of 
my unfortunate aunt and her four daughters at this awful 
moment. To add to their misery, one of the assassins had 
the brutality to tell the eldest daughter, Mrs. Kinsla, who had 
been married but a year or two before, that she would find 
something else to weep over when she returned home. She 
had come but half-an-hour before to visit her family, her own 
place being but a short mile from her father's house. As the 
monster told her, when she went home she found her husband 
lying dead in the courtyard, and a young child of a few months 
old in his arms. The unfortunate man had taken it out of its 
cradle, thinking that the sight of the poor infant might soften 
Beaumont's heart and incline him to mercy. But this staunch 
supporter of the Protestant ascendancy could not let so good 
an opportunity pass of proving his loyalty to his king by thus 
exterminating a Catholic neighbour."* 

Most persons who know anything of the rebellion of 1798, 
have heard of Father John Murphy, parish priest of Monageer 
and Boulevogue, who held a command among the Wexford in- 
surgents, f 

Colonel Byrne tells us that Father Murphy, like many other 
priests, had anxiously advised the people to surrender their 
weapons to the government. But on the 26th May, 1798, a 

* Ibid., vol. i. pp. 254 et seq. 

f This is the Father John Murphy of whom the editor of the Corn- 
wallis Correspondence gives the following character : " A thorough 
ruffian — the worst possible specimen of a reckless demagogue. He per- 
suaded his infatuated followers that he was invulnerable, and used to 
show them bullets which he said he had caught in his hands." 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



21 



party of the yeomanry scoured the parish, burning and de- 
stroying all before them. When Father Murphy saw his 
chapel and his house in flames, as well as many other 
houses in the parish, his patience was exhausted, and in 
reply to the crowd who gathered round him for advice, " he 
answered abruptly that they had better die courageously in 
the field than be butchered in their houses ; that for his own 
part, if he had any brave men to join him, he was resolved to 
sell his life dearly."* 

In addition to these testimonies, we have the Marquis 
Cornwallis's direct and positive assertion (which I shall quote 
at length in a future chapter of this work), that the country 
had been driven into rebellion by violence and cruelty. f His 
Excellency had previously described the violence as displaying 
itself in the burning of houses, the murder of the inhabitants, 
the infliction of torture by flogging, and universal rape and 
robbery. J 

Those who brand with every epithet of ignominy the names 
and principles of the insurgents of 1798, should ask them- 
selves whether such elaborate pains had ever been taken in 
any other country to goad a reluctant people into insurrec- 
tion ? With the cup of political hope held brimful to the lips, 
to be rudely dashed aside next moment ; with a regularly or- 
ganized system of torture ; with a social condition of frightful 
insecurity ; without any protection from the established tribu- 
nals of the law— whither were the people to turn for succour ? 
To the so-called tribunals of justice ? A sanguinary buffoon 
upon the bench might openly recommend the impunity of their 
murderers in a harangue of solemn banter. Should they turn 
to the government for help ? The government had a direct 
interest in their sufferings and turbulence. Where, then, were 
the people to look for the removal of their grievances ? They 
were absolutely driven to their own rude, undisciplined, and 
inefficient warfare. The blazing cottage — the tortured pea- 
sant — the violated wife or daughter — the familiar outrages on 
property and life — the demoniac license of which they were 
the victims, literally left them no alternative but rebellion. 
Instead of their outbreak in 1798 being a subject of astonish- 
ment, the reil wonder would have been if, with such in- 
tolerable provocation, they had not resorted to arms. Good 

* Ibid., i. p. 46. 

t His Excellency wrote this on the 16th November, 1 799. Correspond- 
ence, vol. iii. pp. 144, 145. See for the whole passage, chap, xxvii infra. 
X CornwaUis Correspondence, iii. 89. 



22 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



men may now regard their straggle with the feeling expressed 
in the celebrated lines of a Protestant Fellow of Trinity Col- 
lege: 

" Who fears to speak of ninety-eight ? 
Who blushes at the name ? 
When coward's mock the patriot's fate, 
Who hangs his head for shame ?" 

No. The true shame and sin were with the government, 
whose oppressive crimes compelled a peace-loving people to 
take the field in their own defence. 

The country at length became embroiled enough to satisfy 
the most ardent aspirations of Pitt, Clare, and Castlereagh. 
Troops were poured in, to the number of 137,590.* Among 
other proofs of the complicity of the government is the damn- 
ing fact, that they might have prevented the rebellion by 
arresting its leaders at any moment during thirteen months 
immediately preceding the outbreak. The Appendix marked 
Number XIV. of the Report of the Secret Committee of the 
House of Commons, printed by the authority of government 
in 1798, is prefaced with the following words : " The in- 
formation contained in this Number of the Appendix was re- 
ceived from Nicholas Maguan, of Saintfield in the county 
of Down, who was himself a member of the Provincial and 
County Committees, and also a colonel in the military sys- 
tem of United Irishmen. He was present at each of the 
meetings of which an account is here given ; and from time to 
time, immediately after each meeting, communicated what 
passed thereat to the Rev. John Clelland, a magistrate of said 
county, "f 

Mr. Clelland was land-agent to Lord Castlereagh's family, 
and through him the government received the fullest informa- 
tion respecting the machinery of the impending insurrection, 
the names of its leaders, and their plans and movements. He 
is shown to have received communications from Maguan im- 
mediately after each meeting. Now, the meeting of which an 
account is first given in Appendix No. XIV., was held on the 
14th April, 1797, or about thirteen months before the re- 

* These figures are taken from a speech delivered by Lord Castlereagh 
on the 18th February, 1799, prefacing a motion on military estimates. 

f Report of the Secret Committees, printed by authority. It should be 
observed that the examinations of Arthur O'Connor, Samuel Neilson, and 
Thomas Addis Emmet were so greatly abridged in the government publi- 
cation, that those gentlemen took means to publish them in full. See 
Madden's " United Irishmen, " Second Series, 8vo, p. 327, note. 



IRELAND AND HKR AGITATORS. 



23 



bellion broke out. It is clear that at any time during that 
period the government could have prevented the explosion by 
the simple act of taking the leaders into custody. But the 
reader has seen that the quiet prevention of an outbreak was 
inconsistent with their guilty policy. Their plan was to con- 
vulse the frame of Irish society to its centre ; to create mutual 
hatred and terror between the Protestant and Catholic inha- 
bitants of the land ; to paralyse both into a total incapacity to 
resist the Union ; to coerce both with an irresistible army of 
occupation ; and then, by means of gigantic and unprecedented 
bribery, to corrupt the parliament (which had been dexterously 
packed for the occasion), to vote its own extinction. 

They must have been short-sighted statesmen who calcu- 
lated that a Union thus produced by force and bribery could 
ever be maintained by any other means than force and bribery. 
They must have known but little of human nature, ^if they 
imagined that a people, whose legislature had been made the 
subject of a regular bargain and sale, could ever acquiesce in 
that traffic. They must have known nothing of the Irish 
nature, if they expected that the series of demoniac crimes, 
which culminated in the destruction of the Irish Parliament, 
could ever be eflaced from the national memory ; or that the 
recollection would ever be unaccompanied with the resolve to 
recover, whenever God should send us the means, the consti- 
tution of which we were wickedly plundered. 

" Bonds of force," said Mr. Speaker Foster on the 11th 
April, 1799, " or even of deluded or delusive consent, will only 
exist to be broken." 

Amongst the Irish parliamentary Unionists, the most pro- 
minent leader was Lord Chancellor Clare. His only motive 
was the hope of personal aggrandizement. He had, by his 
commanding talents and great strength of character, acquired 
a dictatorship in the Irish House of Lords. Over the imbecile 
puppets who formed the majority of that assembly, he domi- 
neered with the most insolent tyranny ; and he indulged in 
visions of the vastly enlarged power with which a dictatorship 
in the British Parliament would invest him. It never occurred 
to him that he should not be equally dominant there as he was 
in the upper house of the Irish legislature. 

Clare had a species of intellect not uncommon amongst the 
leaders of the French revolution, of which the leading trait 
was its strong but ill-directed energy. His bigotry against 
the Catholics was intense. In private society he seldom named 
them without some contemptuous epithet. He threw all his 



• 24 IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 

abilities into the struggle for the Union ; and in order to give 
the reader some idea of the habitual insolence with which he 
bullied the Irish peers, I shall quote the following audacious 
attack made by him on the Earl of Charlemont, the Marquis 
of Downshire, and some other lords who ventured to oppose 
the Union : 

" If loud and confident report," said Lord Clare, "is to 
have credit, a consular exchequer has been opened for foul 
and undisguised bribery. I know that subscriptions are 
openly solicited in the streets of the metropolis to a fund for 
defeating the measure of Union. I will not believe that the 
persons to whom I have been obliged to allude can be privy 
to it. One of them, a noble earl/' [Charlemont] " I see in 
his place ; he is a very young man, and I call upon him as he 
fears to have his entry into public life marked with dishonour ; 
I call upon him as he fears to live with the broad mark of in- 
famy on his forehead and to transmit it indelibly to his pos- 
terity, to stand up in his place and acquit himself before his 
peers of this foul imputation. I call upon him publicly to 
disavow all knowledge of the existence of such a fund ; or, if 
he cannot disavow it, to state explicitly any honest purpose to 
w r hich it can be applied. If it can exist, I trust there are 
sufficient remains of sense and honour in the Irish nation to 
cut off the corrupted sources of these vile abominations." 

In order properly to appreciate the brazen audacity of that 
insolent attack, it must be remembered that he who thus de- 
nounced the imputed iniquities of the patriotic party, was the 
champion of a government who were openly and shamelessly 
practising every art of corruption in favour of their measure. 

The work entitled < < Public Characters of 1799—1800," 
thus speaks of Lord Clare's parliamentary tactics : " His firm- 
ness, his confidence in his own powers, and the bold tone 
with which he hurled defiance at his parliamentary oppo- 
nents on every question connected with legal or constitu- 
tional knowledge, often appalled the minor members of 
opposition, and sometimes kept even their chiefs at bay. 
These qualities, however, did not always constitute a sure de- 
fence. The repulse which on one memorable evening of de- 
bate, he experienced on the part of the present Lord, then 
Mr. O'Neill, of Shane's Castle, whose manly and honest mind 
caught fire at the haughty and dictatorial language with which 
the Attorney- General had dared to address him, is remembered 
by those who were then conversant in the politics of the day, 
and probably will not soon be forgotten." 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



25 



The Union being carried, Lord Clare, who was inflated with 
arrogance and success, soon tried the experiment of insulting 
the peers of England. He called the Whig lords, Jacobins. 
The Duke of Bedford flung back the insult with the spirit that 
beseemed a British peer. " We would not," said he, " bear 
such language from our equals ; far less will we endure it from 
the upstart pride of chance nobility." The feeling of the 
whole house was with the duke. Clare had not the poor con- 
solation of sympathy or pity from any man even of his own 
political party. His influence, once almost omnipotent, was 
now extinct. He returned, mortified and broken-hearted to 
the country he had betrayed and ruined, cursing the part he 
had taken in promoting the Union. "There was a time," he 
said with great bitterness, " when no appointment could be 
made without my sanction. Now I am unable to make so 
much as a clerk in the excise." 

He tried to dissipate his chagrin by violent equestrian 
exercise. His death was hastened by a severe hurt he received 
whilst riding in the Phoenix Park. He died in January, 1802, 
expressing in his last hours deep though unavailing re- 
morse for his criminal co-operation with Pitt against the Irish 
constitution. His fall may be regarded as a signal instance 
of the retributive justice of Providence. 

Of his lineage the following account is given in the publica- 
tion already quoted : " He is removed but two degrees from 
a man in the humblest walk of society — a Catholic peasant — 
whose life was distinguished only by a gradual transition from 
extreme poverty to an honourable competency ; and that, too, 
acquired by useful industry." 

By his criminal political career he gained a peerage which 
is now extinct. The so-called honours for which he bartered 
the vital interests of his country have passed away. 



2 



20 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



CHAPTER III. 

u How did they pass the Union ? 

By perjury and fraud, 
By slaves, who sold for place or gold, 

Their country and their God; 
By all the savage acts that yet 

Have followed England's track — 
The pitchcap and the bayonet, 

The gibbet and the rack. 
And thus was passed the Union 

By Pitt and Castlereagh ; 
Could Satan send, for such and end, 

More worthy tools than they ?" 

Spirit of the Nation. 

A Scotch essayist on Irish politics once expressed his curiosity 
to know by what magic William Pitt induced the minor mem- 
bers of the Irish peerage to consent to the Union. The great 
lords who had influence in the House of Commons were 
brought over on intelligible principles. The Earl of Shannon, 
for example, was paid £45,000 for his adhesion. Besides, the 
chiefs of the peerage could look forward to seats in the imperial 
parliament as Irish representative peers, whereas the smaller 
lords, in losing their Irish privilege of hereditary legislation, 
lost all that made their titles anything better than nicknames ; 
whilst they had little or no chance of election to the central 
legislature. 

It certainly seems, at first sight, surprising that a con- 
siderable body of hereditary legislators should slavishly sur- 
render the proudest privilege of the citizen, and receive for 
it no equivalent. Their act was an abandonment, apparently, 
of personal and national dignity. In 1785, Lord Lansdowne, 
in the British House of Lords, expressed his belief that an act 
of such degrading self- disfranchisement was impossible. An 
Union having been then casually mentioned, his lordship spoke 
of " the idea of an Union as a thing that was impracticable. 
High-minded and jealous," he said, " as were the people of 
Ireland, we must first learn whether they will consent to give 
up their distinct empire, their parliament, and all the honours 
which belonged to them." Our surprise at the share of the 
Irish House of Lords in enacting the Union is diminished 
when we analyse the composition of the peers, and examine 
their habits. 

Let us first do all honour to the gallant band who, headed 
by the Duke of Leinster and the Earl of Charlemont, resisted 
the Union to the last. The Lords' protest against the Union 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



27 



is a noble document, full of sagacity and patriotism. Alas ! 
those who signed it were in a minority. 

With respect to the rest of the peers ; if we look into the 
Irish peerage list, we shall find that more than half of those 
existing in 1800 had received their creations from the then 
reigning monarch, George III. Of these men, thus personally 
bound to the court, a considerable number were indebted for 
their elevation to the grossest political dishonesty. They 
cared nothing for their country, except for the purpose of 
trafficking upon it. Corruption had been carried to such an 
extent as to justify Grattan's indignant complaint, that the 
minister's familiar practice was to purchase the members of 
one house with the money obtained by selling seats in the 
other. 

Again, a great portion of the Irish peers had nothing Irish 
about them but their titles. They had not a foot of property 
in the kingdom. They never entered it. They had no more 
compunction in voting for the extinction of the Irish parlia- 
ment than they would have had in voting away an Otaheitan 
legislature. Take up a Dublin Almanac for the year 1800, 
and run your eye over the peerage list ; you will find many of 
the peers possessing also English titles and English residences. 
Exclusively of these, you will find that out of fifty-seven 
viscounts, there were no less than eighteen who had got no 
Irish residence at all. Run your eye over the barons, and 
you will find that out of sixty-five, there were in that year no 
less than thirty-four whose connexions, residences, and pro- 
perty were altogether English. 

Again, some of the most bustling and prominent peers then 
residing in Ireland, were either English lawyers or the sons 
of Englishmen who had been thrust upon the Irish bench, and 
thence into the Irish peerage. These men had not yet ac- 
quired Irish sentiments or feelings ; they were still essentially 
foreigners ; they rejoiced at an opportunity to strike a blow at 
Ireland. 

Amongst those whom a descent of some half-dozen genera- 
tions entitled to call themselves Irish, the greater number had 
so habitually looked on politics as a game to be played for the 
purpose of personal aggrandisement, that they had no con- 
ception of anything like political principle. There was a 
thorough moral recklessness about them which rendered them 
quite ready for any act of political desperation, provided it 
did not tend to enlarge the power of the people. Their per- 
sonal habits necessarily fostered this recklessness. Their pro- 



28 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



fusion and extravagance were great ; and some of them — not 
a few — resorted to modes of raising the wind which showed 
that they mingled but few scruples with their system of finan- 
cial pneumatics. There was, withal, a strong dash of odd 
drollery in the brazen shamelessness of their expedients. 

A curious specimen of this order of men was Lord M y. 

His title was the result of some dexterous traffic in parlia- 
mentary votes. His manners were eminently fascinating, and 
his habits social. He had a favourite saying that a gentleman 
could never live upon his rents ; a man who depended on his 
rents had money upon only two clays in the year, the 25th of 
March and the 29th of September. He accordingly left no 
expedient untried to furnish himself with money every other 
day too. 

It chanced that when Lord Kerry's house in Stephen's- 
green was for sale, a lady named Keating was desirous to pur- 
chase a pew in St. Anne's church appertaining to that man- 
sion. Mrs. Keating erroneously took it into her head that 

the pew belonged to Lord M y ; she accordingly visited 

his lordship to propose herself as a purchaser. 

" My dear madam," said he, "I have not got any pew that 
I know of in St. Anne's church." 

" Oh, my lord, I assure you that you have ; and if you 
have got no objection, I am desirous to purchase it." 

Lord M y started no further difficulty. A large sum 

was accordingly fixed on, and in order to make her bargain as 
secure as possible, Mrs. Keating got the agreement of sale 
drawn out in the most stringent form by an attorney. She 
paid the money to Lord M y ; and on the following Sun- 
day she marched up to the pew to take possession, rustling in 
the stateliness of brocades and silks. The beadle refused to 
let her into the pew. 

" Sir," said the lady, " this pew is mine." 

" Yours, madam ?" 

" Yes ; I have bought it from Lord M- y." 

"Madam, this is the Kerry pew; I do assure you Lord 
M y never had a pew in this church." 

Mrs. Keating saw at once she had been cheated, and on 
the following day she went to his lordship to try if she could 
get back her money. 

" My lord, I have come to you to say that the pew in St. 
Anne's " 

" My dear madam, I'll sell you twenty more pews if you've 
any fancy for them." 



IRELAND AND IIER AGITATORS. 



29 



" Oh, my lord, you are facetious. I have come to acquaint 
you it was all a mistake ; you never had a pew in that 
church." 

" Hah ! so I think I told you at first." 

"And I trust, my lord," pursued Mrs. Keating, "you will 
refund me the money I paid you for it." 

" The money ? Really, my dear madam, I am sorry to 
say that is quite impossible — the money's gone long ago." 

"But — my lord — your lordship's character." 

" That's gone too !" said Lord M y, laughing with 

good-humoured nonchalance. 

I have already said that this nobleman's financial operations 
were systematically extended to every opportunity of gain that 
could possibly be grasped at. He was colonel of a militia 
regiment; and, contrary to all precedent, he regularly sold 
the commissions and pocketed the money. The Lord Lieu- 
tenant resolved to call him to an account for his malpractices, 
and for that purpose invited him to dine at the Castle, where 
all the other colonels of militia regiments then in Dublin had 
also been invited to meet him. After dinner, the Viceroy 
stated that he had heard with great pain an accusation — 
indeed he could hardly believe it — but it had been positively 
said that the colonel of a militia regiment actually sold the 
commissions ! 

The company looked aghast at thi3 atrocity, and the inno- 
cent colonels forthwith began to exculpate themselves. " I 
have never done so." " I have never sold any." " Xor I." 
" Nor I." Tue disclaimers were general. Lord M y re- 
solved to put a bold face on the matter. ' ' I always sell the 
commissions in my regiment," said he, with the air of a man 
who announced a practice rather meriiorious. All present 
seemed astonished at this frank avowal. 1 1 How can you de- 
fend such a practice *?" asked the Lord Lieutenant. H Very 
easily, my lord. Has not your Excellency always told us to 
assimilate our regiments as much as possible to the troop3 of 
the line ?" " Yes, undoubtedly." " Well, they sell the com- 
missions in the line ; and I thought that the best point at 
which to begin the assimilation." 

It is told of this nobleman, that when he was dying he was 
attended by a clergyman who remonstrated with him on the 
scandalous exploits of his past life, and strongly urged him to 
repent. " Repent ?" echoed the dying sinner ; " I don't see 
what I have got to repent of — I don't remember that I ever 
denied my sell" anything." 



30 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



We may well suppose that such a personage would have 
readily voted for the Union, or for anything else. 

Mr. , a wealthy merchant, had aristocratic aspirings. 

Having amassed great wealth in trade, as well by lucky hits as 
by persevering industry, he resolved to add a peerage to his 
acquisitions. A bargain was made with the Irish minister ; 
the ambitious merchant was to be created a baron for the 
stipulated payment of £20,000. The patent was forthwith 
made out, and the new peer took his seat in due form. The 
government never entertained a doubt that his lordship would 
faithfully pay them the price of his new honours ; and in this 
happy confidence they gave him his coronet without first se- 
curing the money for it. Six months passed, during which 
the Castle took it for granted that the new baron would fulfil 
his engagement at his earliest convenience. At length, the 
secretary wrote a "private and confidential" epistle, to give 
his lordship's memory a gentle refresher. 

The noble lord made short work of the matter. He wrote 
back, denying all recollection of the engagement referred to ; 
expressing great indignation that anybody should presume to 
accuse him of being a party to the sale or purchase of a peer- 
age ; and threatening, should the claim be renewed, to im- 
peach the minister in parliament for so grossly unconstitu- 
tional a proceeding. The government were outwitted, and the 
ex-merchant got his coronet — as perhaps he had got other 
things also — without paying for it. 

Many such scamps were to be found in the Irish House of 
Lords ; and English lucubrators upon Irish affairs triumph- 
antly point to their unprincipled conduct, and ask — as if 
the question were perfectly conclusive against Hepeal — 
" Would you revive such a parliament ?"* 

No, certainly. We seek not to revive corruption. We de- 
sire to restore the Irish parliament, cleansed, purified, and 
placed beyond the reach of all corrupt influences. The 

unprincipled class, moreover, to which Lord M y and 

Lord > belonged, cannot in any fairness be quoted against 

Irish claims or Irish rights. That class was manufactured by 

* Amongst the aristocratic eccentricities of the day, was the Earl of 
Belvedere's penchant for people who had hideous noses. He is said to 
have given an annual entertainment called the Nosey Dinner, the guests 
heing all remarkable either for their large red noses or some other sort of 
nasal deformity. His lordship's great delight was to invite two opposite 
proprietors of outlandish noses to take wine with each other, and to watch 
the converging inclination of their hideous profiles. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



31 



England in this country. It was prevented by English power 
and English artifice from becoming fully identified with Irish 
interests. It was corrupted for English purposes, and by 
English influence. When England, therefore, upbraids us 
with its moral rottenness, we retort that she was the insti- 
gator of its political crimes — that those crimes were disastrous 
to the great mass of the Irish people, who had no participa- 
tion in them ; and that the disgrace, consequently, rests not 
on us, but on England herself, and on the individual crimi- 
nals who yielded to her seductions in this country. 

The corruption of the Irish parliament is also often men- 
tioned by our English censors as if English parliaments ha 1 
been always immaculate, and as if Ireland alone presented 
specimens of senatorial profligacy. English history, however, 
informs us that this species of iniquity has occasionally 
flourished in the parliament of England. Lingard, for in- 
stance, says that when Charles II. received, in January, 1677, 
a portion of his annual pension from the King of France, the 
whole sum was immediately expended on the purchase of votes 
in the English House of Commons ; the result of which traffic 
gave the court, upon questions of finance,, a majority of about 
thirty voices. But English senators did not restrict them- 
selves to a market so limited as the English court. " It 
seemed," says Lingard, " as if the votes of the members of 
parliament were exposed for sale to all the powers of Europe. 
Some received bribes from the Lord Treasurer on account of 
the king; some from the Dutch, Spanish, and Imperial am- 
bassadors in favour of the confederates ; some even from 
Louis at the very time when they loudly declaimed against 
Louis as the great enemy of their religion and liberties." 
In*1678, a test was proposed for the discovery of such mem- 
bers of parliament as had received bribis or any other con- 
sideration for their votes, either from the English or any 
other government. " The popular leaders," says Lingard, 
" spoke warmly in its favour ; but before the last division 
took place, about an hundred members slipped out of the 
House, and the motion was lost by a majority of fourteen.''* 
Lord Macaulay calls the management by corruption of the 
English parliaments of that period, and of much more recent 
times, " one of the most important parts of the business of a 
minister ;" and, speaking of the long period between the 
reigns of Charles II. and George III., he says that it was 



* Lingard's Hist, of England, ad annos 1676, 16 78. 



82 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



" as notorious that there was a market for votes at the treasury 

as that there was a market for cattle at Smithfield."* 

English politicians sometimes say that the Irish parliament 
was so corrupt that it deserved extinction. To reason thus is 
to confound the turpitude of particular parliaments with the 
eristenee of parliament. It is to deprive the Irish peoplo of 
their birthright, because certain parliamentary majorities have 
been base and venal. Would the gentlemen who reason in this 
i i! m-r apply the same logic to England ? Would they argue 
'i t' ') e English parliament omjht to he annihilated, and the 
KiiL'IMi p "ph 1 d« prived of self-government, hi cause English 
s. mitors sold tin ir voi< s to Patch, French, Spanish, German, 
and native purchasers, and hecauso tho notoriety of this 
trathc equalled that of the public cattle- market ? 

11 the I'liion strug-.'le in the Irish parliament developed, on 
the one band, the political depravity whieh England had 
1 ; : • i s<» hard to produce, it al>o displayed on the other 
hand, many brilliant examplea of the most stainless and un- 
rmmhaenaMi b^ne-tv. I. ■.« iy » thut to debauch the legislature 
had for a series of years been systematically made by the 

•• \« riiiii. nt ; ai i vet in 1 , ' , '» the lirst attempt to carry the 
L'liitm was defeated by men who might have made for thoin- 
: . . •. . v, hat. w r t rn. tin -\ | I a.- d • • ith the mini Uor. And 
in 1800, after every possible exeitii.n to pack the parliament 
liad been resorted to, there still remained 1 1 .» members, a 
tried and trusty band, who, although in a minority, were yet 
miraculously numerous, when we n member the enormous 
powers of corruption which the government derived from the 
maul » r ei' -e b troughs and from their other resources. Of 
the men who were returned by the people, a majority stood 
linn to their tru*t. '1 m- tiaitors were chiefly found amtmg 
those members whom private influence had introduced into the 
legislature. 

The \ :« eioy could not help entertaining respect for tho anti- 
rnmiu^s. on th,. -Jl:h .May, I7'.i'.>, he writes to General 
Uoss: "There ii an opposition in parliament to the measure 
cf I'liion, formidable in character and talents.") 

The English cabinet did not think that their Irish confe- 
rat< i were sullicienth acti»« in pressing forward the Union. 
L-.rd Ca^tlerea^h, in a letter to John King, Esq., dated 7th 
March, lMM), thus accounts lor their imputed slowness : "It 
will be in the first place considered that we have a minority 

* Macaulay'i Hist, of England, iii. 541, 540 (H\o edition), 
t Cum walk* Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 101. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



38 



consisting of 120 members well combined and united, that 
many of them are men of the first weight aud talent in the 
House, that 37 of them are members for counties, that great 
endeavours have been used to inflame the kingdom, that peti- 
tions from 26 counties have been procured, that the city of 
Dublin is almost unanimous against it, and with such an 
opposition so circumstanced and supported, it is evident much 
management must be used."* 

When Lord Castlereagh boasted that the Union, by extin- 
guishing a great number of pocket-boroughs, would operate as 
a measure of parliamentary reform, Charles Kendal Bushe 
immediately retorted that Lord Castlereagh's Union-majority 
were to be found among the members for those very constitu- 
encies which his lordship proposed to abolish as a punishment 
for their impurity ; and that it would be impossible for him 
to select one hundred members for the greater constituencies, 
amongst whom he would not fiud himself in a minority. 
" What, then," asked Bushe, " results from his own confes- 
sion ? This — that he is about to carry the Union against 
that part of the parliament which he allows to be pure, and 
by the instrumentality of that part which he alleges to be cor- 
rupt. He does not merely state this as a matter of can- 
dour, but as a matter of boast. He glories in cutting off the 
rotten limb, and amputating the withered branch of parlia- 
ment ; and yet, with that wiihered branch, he beats down the 
constitution." 

Out of doors there was a nearly universal detestation of the 
Union, which would have been effectual in defeating it if it 
were not for the overpowering military force in the hands of 
the government. 

I have not sought to conceal the faults or vices of the Irish 
parliament. It was an unreformed borough parliament ; and 
to the evils resulting from its construction must be added the 
mischiefs flowing from its sectarian bigotry during the long 
period between the restoration of Charles II. and the year 
1800. Yet, notwithstanding these very serious drawbacks, it 
is a fact of the highest importance that from the moment when, 
in ] 782, this unreformed, bigoted parliament acquired freedom 
from the usurped claims of England to legislate for Ireland, 
the prosperity of Ireland sprang forward at a bound, and its 
progress is attested by a host of unimpeachable witnesses, to 
whose evidence I shall advert in a subsequent chapter of this 
work. It is scarcely possible to conceive more effectual ob- 
* Cornwallis Correspondence. 



84 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



structions to the beneficial action of a free, resident legisla- 
ture, than those which arise from the sectarian intolerance of 
its members, and from the prevalence of a close-borough sys- 
tem. Yet the Irish parliament, in spite of those obstructions, 
conferred essential benefits on the country — benefits which 
greatly countervailed its evils. It kept the money of the 
country at home. It enacted several good measures. The 
individual interests of its members necessarily often ran in 
the same groove with the interests of the country ; so that 
personal selfishness occasionally came in aid of patriotism. 
The very facts of residence, and of discharging at home the 
high functions of Irish legislators, produced in many of them 
sentiments of patriotic pride and of national honour. The 
general results appeared in the astonishing advance of trade, 
commerce, manufactures, and agriculture — an advance which 
forms a strong and melancholy contrast with the general decay 
that followed the Union, and the present condition of our flying 
population. By the Union, England obtained the dishonest 
control of the whole resources of Ireland ; but she also ob- 
tained the lasting hatred of the people whose legislature she 
had first corrupted and then destroyed. The Union laid a 
sure foundation for Irish discontent and disaffection. It dis- 
posed the people to look anywhere for friendship rather than 
to the power that had robbed them of their birthright by an 
act that capped the climax of innumerable deeds of aggression. 
Great national crimes have seldom been forgiven by the in- 
jured parties. Oblivion of wrong is best promoted by ample 
and honourable restitution. Restitution is, in our case, ab- 
solutely indispensable to our national prosperity and dignity. 
(t Keep knocking at the Union," were among the last words 
of Grattan to Lord Cloncurry. " Come it soon, or come it 
late," said O'Connell, " my deliberate conviction is that if the 
Union be not peacefully repealed, a sanguinary separation of 
the countries will be tbe ultimate result." This is pretty much 
what Saurin said on the 27th February, 1800 : "I consider," 
said he, " the present measure" (of Union) ' ' as most dan- 
gerous to that connexion" (with Great Britain). " My opinion 
has been uniformly that it is a project to change a union and 
connexion of safety and independence, for a union of insecu- 
rity and dependence." 

I conclude this chapter with the following incident. On 
the night when the fatal measure passed the House of Com- 
mons, a large crowd who had assembled in College-green, 
waited until Mr. Speaker Foster, the leader of the anti- 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



85 



Unionists, quitted the house. They took off their hats, and 
followed him, sad, silent, and uncovered, to his residence in 
Molesworth-street. Ere he entered the house he turned 
round, and sadly and solemnly bowed to the people, who 
then dispersed. No word was interchanged between the 
Speaker and the crowd. All felt the deadening pressure of a 
terrible national calamity. It was a sorrow too profound for 
utterance. 



CHAPTER, IV. 

"As we are men and Irishmen, 
Scorn for his curst alliance ! 
As we are men and Irishmen, 
Unto his throat defiance ! " 

Banim. 

The Union having been accomplished, the prevalent desire 
amongst the Irish people was, of course, to obtain its repeal. 
For a few years no great effort was made for this purpose. 
The army of occupation, under the terror of which it had been 
forced upon Ireland, was to a great extent still continued in 
the country. 

But the national desire for Repeal is coeval with the Union 
itself. It was not possible that a nation should sit quietly 
down in contented acquiesence in its own servitude. A sullen 
sentiment of enmity to England smouldered in the public 
mind. Men brooded angrily over the enormous crimes the 
English government had committed against their country ; 
and they felt (to use the language of Saurin, a lawyer of the 
highest ability) that " the exhibition of resistance to the 
measure became merely a question of prudence." 

Ere I pass to later periods, let me pause for a few moments 
to notice a misrepresentation. It is frequently said that the 
Catholics supported the Union. The Catholics, as a body, 
are free from the imputed guilt. At a Catholic aggregate 
meeting held in Dublin in 1795, the Catholic leaders unani- 
mously passed a resolution that they would collectively and 
individually resist even their own emancipation, " if proposed 
to be conceded on the ignominious terms of an Union with 
the sister kingdom." Imbued with this sentiment, O'Connell, 
in his maiden speech, delivered at a Catholic meeting held at 
the Royal Exchange, Dublin, to oppose the Union, loin 
January, 1800, declared that he would prefer the re-enact- 
ment of the whole penal code to the destruction of the Irish 
parliament. On the 15th of January, the patriotic conduct of 



86 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



the Dublin Catholics was referred to in the House of Com- 
mons by Grattan, who said, " If she [Ireland] perish, they 
[the Catholics] will have done their utmost to save her ; . . . 
they will have flung out their last setting glories, and sunk 
with their country.' ' 

The Viceroy, Marquis Cornwallis, had made many attempts 
to gain Catholic support for the Union, and he had at one 
time flattered himself with hopes of success. But on the 12th 
December, 1798, he wrote as follows to Major-General Ross : 
4 4 The opposition to the Union increases daily in and about 
Dublin ; and I am afraid, from conversations which I have held 
with persons much connected with them, that I was too san- 
guine when I hoped for the good inclinations of the Catholics." 

His failure to cajole the Catholic body is again mentioned 
in the following passage of a letter he addressed to the Duke of 
Portland, dated 2nd January, 1799 : " The Catholics, as a 
body, still adhere to their reserve on the measure of Union. 
The very temperate and liberal sentiments at first entertained 
or expressed by some of that body, were by no means adopted 
by the Catholics who met at Lord Fingal's, and professed to 
speak for the party at large. "* 

On the 12th April, 1799, Mr. Secretary Cooke wrote to 
William Wickham, Esq., as follows: 6 ' The Catholics think it 
[the Union] will put an end to their ambitious hopes, however 
it may give them ease and equality. "f 

I find in an interesting compilation entitled " The Very Rev. 
Dr. Renehan's Collections on Irish Church History," the follow- 
ing incidental notice of Catholic hostility to the Union : 

« 1799— July, 1. Dr. Bray [Catholic Archbishop of Cashel], 
in reply to urgent appeals to procure discreetly Catholic 
signatures in favour of the Union in Tipperary and Waterford, 
says that Lord Castlereagh, at whose instance this application 
was made, should know that he, as a Catholic bishop, had 
little influence. The Union might prove to be a useful mea- 
sure ; but bishops injure their own character and the cause 
of religion by interfering against the ivishes of the people. It is 
plain that Dr. Bray intended this answer as a polite refusal. 
A few days after, he received a letter from the Archbishop of 
Tuam, expressing his fears lest some ecclesiastics should be 
seduced by the government into approval of its measures, par- 
ticularly the Union, from which he anticipated the worst 
evils."J 

* Cornwallis Correspondence, iii. 28. The meeting at Lord FingaPs 
was held 13th December, 1798. 
f Cornwallis Correspondence, iii. 87. t Renehan's Coll., vol. i. p. 375. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



87 



Despite martial-law, and governmental interference to ob- 
struct anti-Union petitions and to procure signatures in favour 
of the Union, we know that the signatures against it were 
707,000, whilst those in its favour did not at any time exceed 
5,000. Now, when we reflect that out of the 5,000,000 who 
then inhabited Ireland, 4,000,000 were Catholics, and also 
that the whole number of pro-Union petitioners, Protestants 
and all, was not greater than 5,000, is it not clear that the 
Catholic body stands exculpated from the ignominy of having 
supported the disfranchisement of Ireland ? Lord Cornwallis, 
while trying to persuade the Bishop of Lichfield that, except- 
ing Dublin, the general sense of Ireland was favourable to the 
Union, inadvertently adds : " It is, however, easy for men of 
influence to obtain addresses and resolutions on either side. 5 '* 
If so, how did it happen that notwithstanding the alleged popu- 
larity of the Union, the men of influence who favoured it 
could only stimulate 5,000 persons to sign petitions in its be- 
half ; whilst the men of influence upon the other side could 
muster an array of 707,000 petitioners ? Lord Cornwall 
discloses the truth. On the 31st January, 1800, he writes to 
Major- General Ross : " The Roman Catholics, for whom I 
have not been able to obtain the smallest token of favour, are 
joining the standard of opposition." 

To these proofs that the Catholics were not accomplices in 
the disfranchisement of Ireland, I add the following extract 
from Daniel O'Connell's anti-Union speech, delivered 13th 
January, 1800 : " There was no man present," said O'Con- 
nell, " but was acquainted with the industry with which it 
was circulated that the Catholics were favourable to the Union : 
in vain did multitudes of that body, in different capacities, 
express their disapprobation of the measure ; in vain did 
they concur with others of their fellow-subjects in express- 
ing their abhorrence of it — as freemen or freeholders, as 
electors of counties or inhabitants of cities — still the calumny 
was repeated ; it was printed in journal after journal ; it was 
published in pamphlet after pamphlet ; it was circulated with 
activity in private companies ; it was boldly and loudly pro- 
claimed in public assemblies In vain did the 

* Cornwallis Correspondence, iii. 169. It is to be noted that in the 
accounts we possess of the public transactions of that period, the number 
of signatures to pro-Union petitions is sometimes set down at 5,000, and 
sometimes at 3,000. But as it is also stated that several of the petitions 
prayed, not for the enactment of the Union, but only that it might be 
discussed, I daresay the apparent discrepancy may be explained by as- 
signing 2,000 of the signatures to the latter class of petitions. 



88 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Catholics individually endeavour to resist the torrent. Their 
future efforts, as individuals, would be equally vain and fruit- 
less ; they must then oppose it collectively." 

I have quoted the above testimonies in order to rescue the 
character of the Irish Catholics from a disgraceful accusation. 
That accusation, I presume, originated in the fact that the 
government succeeded in cajoling a few Catholic prelates to 
sanction their measure, and that Lords Kenmare and Fingal 
were ready to surrender their country. I think the episcopal 
traitors did not exceed ten. Sir Jonah Barrington says : 
" The Bishops Troy, Lanigan, and others, deluded by the 
Viceroy, sold their country, and basely betrayed their flocks 
by promoting the Union. But," Sir Jonah adds, " the great 
body of Catholics were true to their country."* This can be 
affirmed alike of the laity, the priesthood, and the majority of 
the bishops. 

The Protestants were not more favourable to the Union 
than their Catholic brethren. There were numberless resolu- 
tions of grand juries, Orange guilds, and Orange lodges, de- 
nouncing the project in the strongest language. Saurin em- 
phatically declared that " although the Union might be made 
binding as a law, it could never become obligatory upon con- 
science ; and that resistance to it would be in the abstract a 
duty." Numbers of the Protestant ascendancy party were in- 
accessible to the bribes of the minister. Their political in- 
tegrity deserves honourable record and enduring national 
gratitude. Sir Frederick Falkiner had four executions in his 
house at Abbotstown, on the very day on which he rejected a 
large offer of money from Lord Castlereagh. There were 
numerous other instances of noble and disinterested patriotism 
amongst the leaders of Orangeism. 

The government had tried to delude both parties — the 
Catholics, by holding out hopes of their emancipation from 
the imperial parliament ; the Protestants, by instilling into 
their minds a belief that the Union would render Emancipa- 
tion either impossible, or, if it should be granted, innocuous 
to Protestant ascendancy. George III. adopted the notion 
that it would become impossible. In his published corre- 
spondence with Pitt, he tells that minister that he had con- 
sented to the Union in the full belief that it would " shut the 
door" for ever against the Catholic claims. It required much 
dexterity on the part of the Viceroy and his agents to infuse 
into the minds of rival parties these opposite beliefs. Lord 
* " Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation," chapter xxvii. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



39 



Cornwallis was, as we have seen, instructed by Pitt to assure 
the Catholics that the success of the Union was essential to 
the success of Emancipation. At the same time his subordi- 
nate ally, Mr. Secretary Cooke, while amusing the Catholics 
with some indistinct hope of " additional privileges" (which 
he did not specify), assured the Protestants in the same para- 
graph that under an Union " the Catholics could not force 
their claims with hostility against the whole power of Great 
Britain and Ireland."* Of Mr. Pitt's ambiguous utterances 
Mr. Speaker Foster said, " Mr. Pitt's language is of such a 
nature that one would imagine he had the two religions on 
either side of him, and one was not to hear what he said to the 
other."| Lord Cornwallis's task was to create among the 
Catholics a conviction that their claims would be much 
streiif/thened by incorporation with England. But what was 
the Viceroy's own conviction ? Let him answer the question 
himself : 4 'The claims of the Catholics will certainly be much 
weakened by their incorporation into the mass of British sub- 
jects. "J 

This he wrote to the Duke of Portland at the very time 
when he was labouring to convince the Catholics that the 
imperial parliament would emancipate them. So it did, 
twenty- nine years later ; and so it would not have done at that, 
or probably any other time, had not 0' Council's agitation 
created a belief in the Duke of Wellington's mind that the 
only alternatives were concession or civil war. 

It is interesting to notice the doubts of success which Lord 
Cornwallis occasionally felt. In a pamphlet by a barrister 
named Weld, the author, speaking of the bribed supporters of 
the Union, says, " their penitential tears fall fast upon the 
wages of apostacy." This reluctance to perform the execrable 
task for which they took payment is seen by Lord Cornwallis, 
who writes to the Bishop of Lichfield on the 24th January, 
1800, " There can, I think, now be no great doubt of our 
parliamentary success, although I believe that a great number 
of our friends are not sincere well-wishers to the measure of 
Union." The Yiceroy was right. Those men had not virtue 
to reject the wages of iniquity; yet their lingering amor patrue 
would have been rejoiced if their country had escaped the blow 

* Mr. Secretary Cooke's " Arguments for and against a Union Con- 
sidered," page 30. 

fMr. Foster's Speech, 11th April, 1799. 

t Letter to the Duke of Portland, 24th December, 1798. Cornwallis 
Corespondence, iii. 22. 



10 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



of the executioner. Again, the Viceroy writes to General Ross 
on the 4th February, 1800, " God only knows how the busi- 
ness will terminate ; but it is so hard to struggle against private 
interests, and the pride and prejudices of a nation, that I shall 
never feel confident of success till the Union is actually 
carried."* 

This admission that he was fighting a hard battle against 
the pride and prejudices of a nation contrasts rather curiously 
with his statements in other parts of his correspondence that 
the national sentiment was in his favour. On the 18th April, 
writing to General Eoss on the parliamentary supporters of 
the Union, his Excellency says, "I believe that half of our 
majority would be at least as much delighted as any of our 
opponents if the measure were defeated, "f 

The Union being carried against the will of nearly every 
inhabitant of Ireland, Protestant and Catholic, it appeared to 
the government politic to conciliate the Protestants, as being 
then the stronger party. Pitt indeed made a show of retiring 
from office because the king's prejudices prevented him from 
carrying a Catholic relief bill. He, however, soon took office 
again, without making any further attempt in favour of Eman- 
cipation. Notwithstanding his short-lived resignation of office, 
we may reasonably doubt the sincerity of his desire to carry a 
measure of Emancipation, when we recollect the duplicity with 
which he had authorized Grattan and Earl Fitzwilliam to ex- 
pect his co-operation in favour of the Catholics at a time when 
he was fully determined to obstruct their claims to the utmost 
of his power. 

No doubt there were multitudes who rejoiced in believing 
with King George III. that the Union had " shut the door" 
for ever against the claims of the Catholics. Those claims 
seemed for a while to be forgotten. The government allowed 
the Irish Protestants to monopolise the local control of the 
country as the most effectual means of reconciling them to the 
Union. They had the Castle, the courts, the public offices, 
and the enormous revenues of the state church. They had 
everything that remained after the suppression of the legis- 
lature. Yet this monoply did not avail to extinguish altogether 
the national sentiment that had grown up under the influence 
of home legislation. 

Grattan, the illustrious founder of the constitution of 1782, 
retired on the enactment of the Union into private life, from 
which he did not emerge until 1805, when he was returned to 
* Cornwallis Correspondence, iii. 169, 177. f Ibid. iii. 228. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



41 



the imperial parliament for the borough of Malton. On the 
first appearance of so distinguished an orator on the boards 
of St. Stephen's, there was necessarily great curiosity excited. 
There were in his style of speaking some marked peculiarities, 
and also in his voice some Hibernian inflections, which called 
forth an incipient titter of derision from certain of his English 
auditors. These symptoms, however, were checked by Pitt, 
who nodded his approval of the style and manner of the 
speaker. 

What a type of Ireland's degradation ! Her most honoured 
and venerable patriot exposed to the sneers of a foreign 
assembly, and indebted for his exemption from insult to the 
patronizing approbation of the bitter and triumphant enemy 
of his country ! It was in the speech he then delivered that 
Grattan, in alluding to the fallen fortunes of Ireland, used the 
touching words, "I sat by her cradle ; I follow her hearse." 

In 1805 several of the guilds of Dublin met to prepare 
petitions for the repeal of the Union. The Stationers' Com- 
pany met at their hall in Capel-street, and appointed a com- 
mittee of nine to draw up their petition. They were probably 
encouraged to commence the good work by Grattan's return 
to the English House of Commons. The Orange Corporation 
of Dublin followed the example of the guilds in 1810, and con- 
fided their petition for repeal to Grattan and Sir Robert Shaw, 
father of the gentleman who is now, I believe, the Recorder 
of Dublin. Both those gentlemen promised to support the 
repeal, and Grattan emphatically said, "Whenever the ques- 
tion shall come before parliament, I shall prove myself an 
Irishman, and that Irishman whose first and last passion is 
his native country." 

It is curious to hear modern Orangemen and Tories de- 
nouncing Repeal as being no better than treason, when we 
remember that Repeal was proposed in 1810 by the most 
ultra-Orange municipality in the kingdom. The example of 
Repeal agitation was then given by that body, whose anti- 
Catholic prejudices were so violent and inflexible, that it ad- 
mitted only five Catholics to be freemen of the city of Dublin 
during the period of forty-eight years from 1793, when the 
Catholics became legally admissible, to 1841, when the Orange 
corporation was dissolved by the municipal reform act. Mr. 
Butt, who is at present most deservedly a popular favourite, 
but who, some five-and- twenty years ago had Orange leanings, 
once arraigned the Repealers as traitors in a speech at the 
Rotundo. He apparently forgot that his ancient friends and 



42 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



clients, the Orange corporation, should necessarily be involved 
in this censure. The " treason" of Repeal was long enshrined 
in the Orange sanctuary in William-street, and many a true 
Orange knee was bent in that temple before the altar of the 
national divinity. Shall we ever see the Orangemen return 
to their ancient anti-Union principles ? Shall we ever see them 
adopt the political faith which seeks not the ascendancy of a 
class or a sect, but the greatness, the prosperity, the dignity 
of the whole Irish nation ?* 

In 1810, public meetings were held in snstainment of the 
Repeal, and in order to encourage the' corporation. George 
III. became ill, prior to his madness, and the loyal corporators 
suspended their agitation lest they should embarrass the royal 
invalid. In 1813, the Repeal demand was renewed in Dublin, 
and the Repealers of all creeds held a meeting to promote their 
object. O'Connell, who had joined the movement in 1810, 
now again came forward, and exerted himself in conformity 
with the earliest declaration he ever had made of his political 
principles. In 1822, Mr. Lucius Concannon, a member of the 
House of Commons, gave notice of a motion for the repeal of 
the Union. Mr. (afterwards Sir Robert) Peel, inquired " if 
the honourable gentleman could seriously ask the House to 
violate that solenjn compact ?" Just as if a measure which 
was literally forced upon Ireland at the point of the bayonet, 
could be rationally called a compact ! From that period for- 
ward, the Repeal was constantly mooted in private society. 
In 1824, Lord Cloncurry wrote a letter, which was read by 
O'Connell at the Catholic Association, recommending the 
Catholics to abandon for a time the struggle for Emancipa- 
tion, and to coalesce with the Protestants in a struggle for 
Repeal. But this advice was premature. The Protestants of 
Ireland could not just then have been induced to combine with 
the Catholics for that or any other purpose. The demon of 
religious hatred was in the ascendant. Catholicity was fami- 
liarly designated " the beast," and " the accursed thing," by 
Protestant controvertists ; and the more bigoted Protestant 
preachers inculcated envenomed hostility to the creed of the 
Catholics as a Christian duty paramount to all others. When 
sectarian hate is incessantly enforced, it speedily is trans- 

* To those who impute intolerance to the Catholics, the contrast between 
the old and the new corporations of Dublin will afford an instructive 
lesson. The Protestant corporation for forty-eight years admitted but 
five Catholic freemen, whereas the present corporation, containing since 
1841 large Catholic majorities, has many times elected Protestants to the 
office of Lord Mayor. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



43 



ferred from the creed of misbelievers to their persons. Those 
who recollect the exertions of the biblical party in 1824, 1825, 
and 1826, have reason to rejoice that their pernicious activity 
has been to a considerable extent relaxed.* The controversial 
excitement through the country was actually frightful. The 
Protestants were taught to look upon the religion of the 
Catholics as a grand magazine of immorality, infidelity, and 
rebellion ; whilst the Catholics, in their turn, regarded their 
enthusiastic assailants as the victims of a spiritual insanity, 
derived from an infernal source, and as disastrous in its social 
results as it was bizarre in its exhibition. The kindly cha- 
rities of friendship were annihilated ; ancient intimacies were 
broken up ; hatred was mitigated only by a sentiment of 
scornful compassion. 

Such were too frequently the mutual feelings of the two 
great sections of the Irish community — the one party having 
the immense preponderance in number, the other in wealth. 
Mr. Plunket, the Attorney-General, had declared that "the 

* Lord Farnliam was a leading patron of these biblical exploits. One 
cannot help regarding with a feeling of melancholy interest the curious 
scenes to which the system of patronising proselytes from Popery gave 
rise. I knew more than one Protestant clergyman, remote from the 
head-quarters of religious excitement, who had been asked by distressed 
wretches, " How much will I get from your reverence if I turn Pro- 
testant ?" The universal conviction on the minds of the lower order of 
Catholics was, that nobody " turned," as they called it, except for lucre ; 
and that an enormous fund existed, under the control of the Protestant 
leaders, for buying up the religious belief of all Papists who were willing 
to conform. Weekly bulletins of the number of new converts from 
Popery were placarded on the walls, and suspended from the necks of 
persons hired to perambulate the public streets. Fourteen hundred and 
eighty-three converts were at one time announced as the fruit of 
Lord Farnham's exertions in Cavan ; but when Archbishop Magee went 
down to confirm them, their numbers had shrunk to forty-two. Lord 
Farnham was doubtless a sincere enthusiast ; but his fanatical folly was 
excessive, and he was greatly imposed on. He kept open house for the 
crowds of proselytes, who were furnished with soup, potatoes, and in some 
instances with clothes. Pauper Protestants are said to have sometimes 
enjoyed his hospitality under the pretext of being " converts" from 
Popery ; and it is said that such Catholics as thought they could escape 
recognition among the multitude of strange faces, contrived to be M con- 
verted" three or four times over, in order to prolong the substantial ad- 
vantage of being fed in a dear season at the noble lord's cost. When the 
supply of food, &c, was discontinued, they returned to their former church. 

This Lord Farnham had been a determined opponent of the Union in 
1800 ; and not long before his death he publicly declared at a conserva- 
tive meeting that his hostility to Repeal arose from a religious, and not at 
all from a political motive. Alas ! Lord Farnham was not the only man 
in whom sectarian fanaticism spoiled a good patriot ! 



44 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



cauldron was already boiling over in Ireland, and that it was not 
requisite that a polemic contest should be thrown into it."* 

The advice was wasted. Many motives impelled the biblical 
party to persevere. First of all, to do them every justice, 
there were some fanatics amongst their number who conscien- 
tiously believed that they were divinely commissioned to dispel 
the gross darkness of Popery. They were, as they conceived, 
authorized to walk forth, wielding ' ' the sword of the spirit, 
which is the word of God," and with which they were destined 
to encounter and overcome - their enemies. Then there were 
the political speculators, who looked on the furious theological 
excitement as affording a useful diversion of men's minds from 
the grievances of tithes and penal disabilities to the abstract 
topics of purgatory, transubstantiation, and St. Peter's supre- 
macy. Again, it was hoped and expected by others that the 
ceaseless abuse launched at Popery would discline Protestants 
to become Emancipators, and possibly withdraw from the 
Catholics the political support of many who already had joined 
them. 

It is probable that some of the liberal members of parlia- 
ment, at that period, had but little sincerity in their emanci- 
pating zeal. The profession of liberal politics effected two 
things for them — it obtained an agreeable popularity, and also 
the honour of seats in parliament. Such persons voted for 
the Catholics year after year, entertaining, I verily believe, a 
full conviction that Emancipation would never be conceded. 
They thus enjoyed the cheap distinction of being senators on 
the easy terms of supporting a measure for which they che- 
rished no affection, but of whose defeat they indulged in a com- 
forting certainty. How ludicrously disappointed must such 
men have been when Peel and Wellington suddenly became 
champions of Emancipation in 1829. 

Religious jealousy and sectarian distrust, like the poisonous 
exhalations of the upas tree, blighted and withered the natural, 
inborn sentiment of nationality in many a well-meaning man. 
When Lord Cloncurry, in the letter already alluded to, pub- 
licly advocated Repeal, a worthy Protestant gentleman said to 
me that it would be an excellent thing if we had a parliament 
of our own in Ireland — " but then," he added, " the Papists 
are so numerous they would soon get the upper hand." I 

* But although Mr. Plunket said this, he is also stated — I do not know 
with what accuracy — to have helped to set the cauldron boiling, by ad- 
vising Dr. Magee, the Protestant Archbishop of "Dublin, to institute a 
controversial movement against the Catholic religion, which it was hoped 
would produce numerous conversions to Protestantism. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



45 



asked him what harm their emancipation would do him or 
anyone ? His reply was to the effect that they wonld rival 
the Protestants in everything ; if a Papist was more eloquent 
or a better lawyer than a Protestant, he might get the start of 
the Protestant in parliament, or he might be promoted to the 
bench, while the Protestant of inferior talent lost the race. 
As matters stood, the Protestant could not be beaten in the 
race, for the Papist could not run — an advantage that should 
not be surrendered on any account. 

I mention this trifling incident because it illustrates the sort 
of jealous feeling which operated, not only to enlist Protestants 
against the Catholic claims, but also to smother their national 
spirit as Irishmen. The mischievous efficacy of this jealous 
terror will be more apparent when I add that the gentleman 
in question had been connected with the United Irishmen in 
1797. The impressions received from that connexion were 
effaced by the malign influence of sectarian partizanship. And 
yet there was no great bitterness, nor was there any personal 
hostility in his politics. He did not hate Catholics ; he was 
not unkind to them in his landlord capacity ; but he had taken 
up the notion that their doctrine of absolution authorised 
crime. He had accurately expressed the sentiment that actu- 
ated thousands — a sturdy resolve to sustain the monopoly the 
Protestants had got, not only to preserve a party advantage, 
but from a belief that the spiritual merits of Protestantism en- 
titled its possessors to that monopoly. 

Meanwhile, O'Connell worked the Catholic question inde- 
fatigably. He was an inexhaustible declaimer, and astonish- 
ingly fertile in argument, in expedient, and in topics of excite- 
ment. There had been from the commencement of his career 
this novel feature in his agitation — there was nothing secret 
in it. No locked doors — no secret committees — no hidden 
springs — no machinery to which he would not at any moment 
have admitted the whole corps of government inspectors. 
Former political leaders had conceived that secrecy was an 
indispensable element of success. But O'Connell early saw 
the perils of every scheme of which concealment formed a 
part. The very fact of supposing the proceedings of a junto 
secret would necessarily induce ill-regulated spirits to give 
utterance to illegal or treasonable sentiments. There was the 
presumed protection of silence. Then there instantly arose 
the danger of treachery ; any rascal who was sufficiently base 
to betray his associates — any Reynolds or Newell — might in- 
stantly compromise the safety of the entire association by re- 



46 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



vealing the indiscretion, or the illegality, or the treason, of a 
single member. O'Cormell's sagacity swept away all such 
danger. By resolving to hide nothing, his associates were 
sure to say and do nothing that required to be hidden. 

O'Connell's immediate predecessor as a Catholic leader was 
John Keogh, a Dublin merchant. Keogh was far advanced in 
years at the time when O'Connell first became very celebrated ; 
and it is believed that the old leader felt jealous of the popular 
talents as well as of the influence acquired by the younger 
one. It is quite certain that he sought to persuade O'Connell 
that the Catholics, instead of continuing their agitation, should 
relapse into silence and inertion, and try the effect of regard- 
ing the government with a surly, awe-inspiring frown, indica- 
tive of hostility too deeply rooted to petition or negotiate. 
Keogh, in fact, proposed and carried a resolution to that effect 
at a public meeting at which his rival attended. O'Connell 
proposed and carried a counter-resolution at the same meet- 
ing, which pledged the Catholics to unremitting activity. 

Nothing could have gratified the government more than the 
adoption by the Catholics of Keogh 's advice. It would have 
released them from the annual parliamentary bore of the 
Catholic question. It would have retarded the success of that 
question incalculably. The policy of endeavouring to scare a 
hostile government by a grim and silent scowl, was too melo- 
dramatic to avail on the political stage. 

O'Connell, of course, persevered. In 1813 he was called 
" an agitator with ulterior views." He immediately accepted 
the designation, and declared that the ulterior object he had 
in view was the Repeal of the Union. When urged at a much 
later period to postpone the agitation of the Catholic claims to 
that of Repeal, he refused to comply, assigning as his reason 
that Emancipation, by removing one great subject of national 
difference, would facilitate the junction of all Irishmen to re- 
gain their national independence. O Connell undoubtedly en- 
tertained at that time too favourable a notion of the patriotism 
of the Orange party. He did not anticipate the stubborn, in- 
flexible, enduring Orange bigotry which has survived the 
emancipation of the Catholics, and thus outlived the chief 
pretext for its exercise. No doubt, there were other pretexts 
too ; there were the corporations and the iniquitous Church 
Establishment ; the former have been taken from the Orange- 
men, but the State Church still remains ; and so long as a 
profitable and exclusive institution exists in Ireland, so long 
will the party that gains by its existence refuse to co-operate 
with the general mass of their countrymen. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



47 



John Keogh's belief in the inutility of political agitation is 
instructive. Lord Fingal was latterly impressed with that 
belief, and alleged it as his reason for declining to preside at a 
Catholic meeting in Dublin. How often have I — how often 
have all whose memory extends back to the later years of the 
Catholic struggle — heard from all sides the exclamation, " Oh ! 
they will never get Emancipation. The government never 
will grant it. How are the Catholics to frighten the govern- 
ment into concession ? O'Connell is wasting his time : he 
has been haranguing for nearly thirty years, and has brought 
his dupes no nearer to it yet." 

Thus do we hear the Repeal agitation denounced as a delu- 
sion, and in much the same language. That it should be de- 
rided by its enemies is natural. Among its friends — that is 
to say, among the great bulk of the people of Ireland — there 
is tQO often an impatience of persevering agitation, a disposi- 
tion to relinquish a pursuit that is not speedily successful. To 
all fickle patriots I would observe, firstly, that the object to 
be gained — namely, the restoration of the Irish Parliament in 
connexion with the crown of Great Britain — is our indefeasible 
right, and is vitally necessary to our national prosperity. It 
is a political pearl beyond price. Secondly, I would remind 
them that the pursuit of Catholic Emancipation occupied fifty- 
one years. The first relaxation of the penal laws occurred in 
1778 ; the admission of Catholics to the bench and to parlia- 
ment was not gained until 1829. Fifty-one years ! Here i3 
a lesson for impatient patriots. During that protracted period, 
how many were the dreary intervals of hopeless depression ? 
how often did not ultimate success appear desperate ? how 
many a heart was weary of the long, long struggle which often 
seemed a vain and feeble protest against omnipotent hostility ? 
Yet for fifty-one years the friends of the Catholic cause strug- 
gled on with varying fortunes, until success at last crowned 
their persevering etforts. And we must not forget that some 
of the worst enactments of the penal code had become law more 
than fourscore years before the earliest legal mitigation of that 
code's severity. 

Hence we may learn a lesson of unfaltering perseverance in 
pursuit of Repeal. I do not underrate the difficulties of the 
task. England is now strong, and we are weak. Yet it is 
quite possible that political complications may arise which 
would render it worth England's while to purchase the fidelity 
of Ireland at the expense of that grand act of restitution. 
Repeal of the Union has ever had, has now, and ever will 



48 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



have, the great strength of incontrovertible justice and right. 
Let the people of Ireland be ever on the watch for a time 
when imperial expediency may enforce from our rulers the con- 
cession of our righteous claim to self-legislation. Fenianism 
in America, despite its blunders and the glaring rascality of 
some of its leaders, is a portent too mighty to be despised. 
It is an exhibition to the world of the insatiable resentment of 
a people expelled by misgovernment, fiscal and political, from 
the land which " the Lord their God had given them" to in- 
habit. When, after 1798, the Marquis Cornwallis was con- 
gratulated because " the rebels were all crossing the Atlantic," 
his Excellency answered, 66 I would rather have three rebels 
to deal with in Ireland than one in America." Fenianism, 
as at present constituted in America, shows a great waste of 
power. It possesses the raw material of great strength ; but 
its strength is neutralised for any useful ends by mistakes in 
its programme, and by the turpitude of scheming leaders who 
have filled their own pockets by trading on popular credulity. 

It is not too much to expect that the Fenians will learn 
wisdom from experience. In order to achieve any benefit for 
Ireland they must totally renounce every principle that repels 
the great body of Irish Eepealers. They must discard the 
insane idea of substituting a republic for the Irish throne of 
Queen Victoria. It is our ardent desire that her Majesty 
should govern Ireland through an Irish ministry and an Irish 
legislature, just as Francis Joseph now governs Hungary 
through a Hungarian ministry and a Hungarian legislature. 
The Fenians — I speak of the multitude of Irish-American 
emigrants, not of some ten or twelve dishonest leaders — must 
bear in mind that the Irish Repealers inherit the constitutional 
principles of 1782, by which the legislative freedom of Ireland 
was combined with untainted loyalty to the sovereign of these 
realms. Any deviation on their part from these principles 
must be fatal to an alliance between them and us — fatal to 
the strength which such an alliance, if wisely formed, would 
constitute. Next, they must give up communism, or that 
approach to communism which I can well believe very few of 
them distinctly contemplate, but which, unless it be renounced, 
will frighten away from them every human being possessing 
anything to lose. 

Should the Fenians of America act thus wisely ; should 
they recast their programme, carefully discarding all that is 
incompatible with the laws and constitution at present having 
force in Ireland ; should they be sufficiently fortunate to sub- 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



49 



stittite for the disreputable charlatans who have trafficked on 
their misplaced confidence leaders worthy of the name, and 
having the true gift of command, they may easily become a 
formidable power, capable of aiding materially in the restora- 
tion of the Irish constitution. English writers have com- 
plained that they have now two Irelands to deal with, one on 
each side of the Atlantic. This is true ; and in order that 
these two Irelands should effectively combine for the recovery 
of their rights, the Ireland now in exile must carefully shape 
her course in accordance with the principles and exigencies of 
the Ireland at home.* 

It is needless to point out the political contingencies in 
which British statesmen may find it their true policy to give 
Ireland that contentment which can alone result from our 
possessing the sole control of our own national concerns. 
War clouds are blackening in various quarters of the horizon. 
It is vitally important to the integrity of the empire in the 
event of foreign war that Ireland should be the fast and firm 
friend of England. There is but one way of making her so, 
and that is by the restoration of her stolen property — her 
power of self-legislation^ — in a word, by repealing the Union. 

All this is of course unpalatable to the English lust of 
domination. But we in Ireland have our own experience of 
that domination. While I write these lines, my attention is 
drawn to a recent article on Fenianism in the Times, in which 
it is asserted — and at present with sad truth — that England 
" does but hold Ireland in the very hollow of her hand." 

True ; we are strangled in the English gripe, and the re- 
sults of this imperial pressure are disclosed by the special 
correspondent of the Times, who writes from Cork to that 
journal on the 23rd March, 1867 : " In the country districts," 
says the limes correspondent, " the depopulation of Ireland is 
not brought to one's notice so forcibly as in the towns. The 
peasant's cabin, when its last occupant has gone across the 
blue water, is pulled down, and no trace is left that it ever 
existed. But town dwellings ' to let' and empty shops re- 
main, sad witnesses of a population that has been and is not. 
To the Irishman this is a trite subject ; the English traveller, 
accustomed at home to the rapid growth of numerous small 
towns in most of the counties he visits, is startled in this 
country by the almost uniform decay of towns, both small and 
great." 

* There are also other Irelands growing up in Australia and other 
British colonies. 

3 



50 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Yes ; Ireland is held, as the Times says, in the very hollow 
of the hand of England, and the deadly consequence of such 
an unnatural position appears in the decay recorded by the 
Times' correspondent. It is well to bear in mind that when 
we were not held in the hollow of her hand — when, after 1782, 
we enjoyed for a few years the priceless blessing of self- 
government — every element of national prosperity developed 
itself with a force which, contrasted with our present degraded 
and despoiled condition, demonstrates the absolute necessity 
of domestic legislation. 

The extermination of great masses of the Irish people 
appears, from time to time, to have been a favourite object of 
English statesmanship. In the reign of Elizabeth, Lord 
Deputy Gray so conducted the government that, as Leland 
informs us, the queen was assured ' 6 that little was left in Ire- 
land for her majesty to reign over but ashes and carcasses."* 
In Prendergast's " Cromwellian Settlement" the author says: 
" Ireland now lay void as a wilderness. Five-sixths of her 
people had perished. "f In the gracious reign of Queen Vic- 
toria, more than two millions and a quarter of the Irish race 
have been got rid of within about fifteen years ; and contem- 
poraneously with their expulsion, the taxes annually wrung 
from Ireland have been increased by about two millions and a 
quarter.j This is being held in the very hollow of the hand of 
England. The modus operandi has been changed from ancient 
times. In the days of Elizabeth and Cromwell there were 
sanguinary raids against the people, and troops were employed 

* Leland, bookiv. chap. 2. In Frazer's Magazine for March, ] 865, Mr. 
Froude, in an article entitled " How Ireland was Governed in the Sixteenth 
Century," writes as follows : " In ' the stately days of great Elizabeth,' 
the murder of women and children appears to have been the every-day 
occupation of the English police in Ireland ; and accounts of atrocities, to 
the full as bad as that at Glencoe, were sent in on half a sheet of letter 
paper, and were endorsed like any other documents with a brevity which 
shows that such things were too common to deserve criticism or attract 
attention." 

f Prendergast's " Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland," p. 149. 

% By the census of 1841 the population of Ireland was 8,196,597. By 
the census of 1861 the population had fallen to 5,798,967. This shows 
a diminution of 2,397,630. The decrease did not begin till 1846 ; so 
that within fifteen years considerably more than two millions and a quarter 
of our people were cleared off. The diminution still goes on, as we are 
Vield in the very hollow of our loving sister's hand ; and so long as we 
enjoy that affectionate pressure, the same result may be expected. The 
above figures are taken from a parliamentary return of the Revenue and 
Popu'ation of Ireland moved for by Mr. (now Sir Joseph Neale) M'Kenna, 
M.P. for Youghal, and dated 25th February, 1867. 



IRELAND AND UER AGITATORS. 



51 



in destroying the green corn and carrying off the cattle, in 
order to starve out the Irish race. The people perished be- 
cause their means of support were destroyed or abstracted. 
And the people of our own time perish or emigrate precisely 
because their means of support are taken away from them — 
not indeed by the coarse, rude methods of a former age, but 
by the equally effectual methods devised by modern statesman- 
ship. The Union, with its consequent drain of Irish wealth 
in absentee taxes and absentee rental, and its destruction of 
the nascent manufacturing interests of Ireland by irresistible 
British competition, achieves the thinning out of our race 
which was formerly wrought by the sword. It deprives Ire- 
land of the means of supporting the Irish ; and it thus most 
effectively replaces the murderous policy of Elizabeth and 
Cromwell. The work once performed by military violence 
is now accomplished by an economic process, and under legal, 
peaceful, and constitutional forms. 

An Irishman who believes in the retributive justice of 
Providence, may well be excused for doubting if such a sys- 
tem of iniquity is destined to be perpetual. Quousque, Domine, 
quo usque ? 

CHAPTER V. 

" I think the character of the Irish Protestants not radically had ; on the contrary, 
they have a reasonable share of good nature. If they could be once got to think the 
Catholics were human creatures, and that they lost no job by thinking them such, 
I am convinced they would soon, very soon indeed, be led to show some regard for 
their country." 

Edmund Buhke. 

During the struggle for Emancipation, it must often have 
sorely galled the Catholic leaders to encounter the patronizing 
condescension of self-important Protestant nobodies, who took 
airs of protection and arrogated high consideration in virtue 
of being emancipators. Prompt payment in servility was ex- 
pected for the assuasive courtesies which seemed to claim a 
measureless superiority over the Catholic proteges on whom 
they were bestowed. " We have now shaken off our chains, " 
said Sheil after Emancipation; " and one of the blessings of 
freedom is our release from petty and contemptible political 
patronage. If a Protestant vouchsafed to be present at any of 
our meetings, it was, * Hurrah for the Protestant gentlemen ! 
Three cheers for the Protestant gentlemen ! A chair for the 
Protestant gentleman!' And this subserviency, readily ten- 
dered by some, was, perhaps, the most provoking small nui- 
sance of our grievances.'' 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



A species of humiliating advocacy consisted in alleging that 
although the religion of the Papists was damnable, idolatrous, 
diabolical, degrading, et cetera ; yet its wretched votaries 
might be safely admitted to political equality, inasmuch as 
the preponderating Protestant strength of the empire would 
always avail to counteract any mischief that might be devised 
by the Papists. Nay, Emancipation might possibly be instru- 
mental in converting the Papists to a purer faith ; inasmuch 
as their penal disqualifications rendered perseverance in Popery 
a point of honour with its professors ; whereas, admission to 
equality of privilege would remove the suspicion which might 
otherwise attach to their motives in conforming to Protes- 
tantism. 

Amongst the parliamentary advocates of Emancipation who 
took the occasion of supporting the Catholic claims to vitu- 
perate Popery was Mr. Perceval. He delivered a speech in 
w r hich the ultra- virulent abuse of Catholicity was only to be 
equalled by the language of some orator at Exeter Hall on a 
grand anti-Papal field day ; at the same time recommending 
the repeal of all disqualifying laws as conducive to the religious 
enlightenment of the Catholics. It scarcely needs be said 
that advocates of Mr. Perceval's class were amongst the poli- 
ticians who would have clogged Emancipation with the royal 
veto on the appointment of Catholic bishops. On this one 
point — that is, in supporting the veto — the illustrious Grattan 
went wrong. Mr. Daniel Owen Maddyn, in a work on Irish 
politics, upraids O'Connell with having " laboured to make 
the venerable Grattan as unpopular as possible." 

The accusation, when translated into the language of simple 
truth, merely means that Mr. O'Connell, with characteristic 
sagacity, opposed every scheme of accompanying Emancipation 
with measures in the slightest degree calculated to secularize 
the Catholic Church, or to bind up the priests in the trammels 
of the State. Grattan would have taken Emancipation though 
encumbered with the veto ; and although a Roman Catholic 
may condemn such a policy, yet he scarcely can blame Grattan 
for adopting it. Grattan was a Protestant, and of course could 
not fairly be expected to possess the watchful solicitude for 
the independence of Catholic spiritualities which should ani- 
mate an intelligent Catholic, anxious as well for the religious 
interests of his church as for the political freedom of his 
countrymen. In truth, the only point on which O'Connell 
differed from Grattan was the question of the veto. 

But if Grattan needed any apology for the part he adopted, 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 58 

he could have found it in the fact that among the Catholics 
of note were men who conceived that Emancipation should be 
purchased at the expense of handing over to the government 
the appointment of the Catholic bishops under the name of 
a veto. One of these liberal Catholics was the late Chief 
Baron Wolfe, then a rising barrister on the Munster circuit. 
He came into collision on this subject with O'Connell at a 
public meeting held in a church in Limerick, and made a 
powerful and effective speech from the front of the gallery in 
favour of the veto. O'Connell, in reply, told the story of the 
sheep who were thriving under the protection of their dogs, 
when an address, recommending them to get rid of their dogs, 
was presented by the wolves. He said that the leading Wolfe 
came forward to the front of the gallery, and persuaded the 
sheep to give up their dogs ; that they obeyed him, and were 
instantly devoured ; and he then expressed a hope that the 
Catholics of Ireland would be warned by so impressive an ex- 
ample against the insidious advice of any Wolfe who might 
try to seduce them to give up their proved and faithful guides 
and protectors. The hit was received with roars of applause, 
and the vetoists were routed. 

Among the Protestant emancipators who combined patron- 
age with insult, was the statesman immortalized in Disraeli's 
" Coningsby" under the pseudonym of Nicholas Rigby, a dex- 
terous and lucky adventurer, of whose career a few brief 
incidents may not be uninteresting. Rigby's father held a 
government office near Dublin, and gave his son a college 
education. The young gentleman, whose critical taste was 
early on the outlook for subjects to dissect, published a metrical 
satire on the corps dramatique of the Theatre Royal, as it ex- 
isted under the management of Mr. Frederick- Jones. This 
production saw the light in 1804, and was entitled, " Familiar 
Epistles to Frederick Jones, Esq." The authorship was not 
avowed until after the work had passed through two editions. 
The versification was easy and correct ; the personal sketches 
flippant and piquant ; the text, in short, was good of its kind, 
but the notes, which encumbered every page, were of helpless 
dulness, which quality was rendered the more striking by the 
perpetual and clumsy attempts of the author to be pointed 
and brilliant. The dreary and ponderous pleasantry o Rigby's 
notes irresistibly reminded the reader of the stupid German 
commemorated by Boswell, who, being charmed by the ex- 
uberant spirits of some humorist, endeavoured when alone to 
emulate his friend's vivacity by jumping over the tables and 



64 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



chairs, explaining the purpose of this saltatory exercise to an 
acquaintance who surprised him in the midst of his antics by 
saying, " J'ajiprends d'etre vif." Rigby's prosaic efforts to be 
vif were clumsy failures. But there was really a good deal of 
pungent sarcasm in his verses.* The amusing personalities 
of the * 4 Familiar Epistles" rendered the book very popular in 
Dublin, and a good deal of interest was excited to discover the 
writer. So long as the Epistles were anonymous, several of 
the small literati acquired a transient importance from imputa- 
tions of the authorship — imputations which some of them en- 
couraged. But at length the real poet came forth to claim his 
laurels ; and Mr. Nicholas Rigby immediately began to lionise 
on the strength of his epistolary glories. Literary ladies asked 
him to their assemblies— dinner-giving dilettanti invited to 
their tables the young satirist whose opening rhymes had re- 
vealed so just an appreciation of the scientific gourmandize of . 
Frederick Jones. The " Familiar Epistles" soon rendered their 
author more familiar with champagne and turtle soup than, 
perhaps, he had previously been. 

One of the personages who bestowed their attentions on 
young Rigby was the late eccentric Baron Smith, father of 
Thomas Berry Cusack Smith, Attorney- General for Ireland to 
* e. g. — The sketch of Richard Jones : 

" But who is this, all boots and breeches, 

Cravat and cape, and spurs and switches, 

Grin and grimace, and shrugs and capers, 

And affectation, spleen, and vapours ? 

O Mr. Richard Jones, your humble ! 

Prithee give o ? er to mouth and mumble ; 

Stand still — speak plain ! and let us hear 

What was intended for the ear: 

Tor, faith ! without the timely aid j 

Of bills, no parts you've ever played." 

Another sketch : 

" Next Williams comes, the rude and rough* 
With face most whimsically gruff, 
Aping the careless sons of ocean, 
He scorns each fine and easy motion ; 
Tight to his sides his elbows pins, 
And dabbles with his hands like fins. 
Would he display the greatest woe ? 
He slaps his breast and points his toe : 
Is merriment to be expressed ? 
He points his toe and slaps his breast ; 
His turns are swings, his step a jump, 
His feelings fits, his touch a thump, 
And violent in all his parts, 
He speaks by gusts, and moves by starts/' 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



55 



the time of the state-trials of O'Connell and others, and sub- 
sequently Master of the Rolls. I have heard that the Baron 
warmly admired the sportive rhymes of Rigby ; but however 
this may be, he bestowed some flattering attentions on their 
author, and affectionately invited him to his country-seat. 

The Baron was proverbial for his oddity. Possessed of an 
acute and metaphysical mind, his great intellectual powers 
were often distorted by unaccountable caprice. One of his 
traits was the suddenness of his attachments and dislikes, the 
lightning rapidity with which he could adopt and discard an 
acquaintance. He would ask you to spend a month at his 
house with an air of affectionate cordiality. If you accepted 
the invitation, and seemed disposed to take your host at his 
word, you would speedily receive an unequivocal hint that the 
sooner you ended your visit the better. 

He tried the experiment on Rigby. He asked him to stay 
for a month. Rigby accepted the Baron's hospitality, and 
was received with the blandest courtesy. For the first two 
days everything was coxdeur de rose. The Baron was enchant- 
ing ; his guest was delighted with his condescension. Rigby 
was introduced to the company who filled the house as a 
young gentleman of extraordinary genius, and his host's most 
particular friend. 

On the third day things were changed. The Baron scarcely 
deigned to glance in the direction of Rigby. Or if he did 
look towards the place where Rigby sat, it was with that 
wandering gaze that seems unconscious of the presence of its 
object. Rigby stood his ground unmoved. He, on his part, 
seemed unconscious of any alteration in the manner of the 
Baron. He rattled away, quite at his ease — lavished his 
stores of entertaining small-talk on the company, who were 
charmed with the Baron's agreeable guest. At dinner the 
Baron did not speak to him ; treated him with marked and 
supercilious coldness ; and indicated by the mute eloquence of 
manner that Rigby had exhausted his welcome. 

Next day Rigby took his usual place at the breakfast-table, 
conversed with delightful animation, and wore the appearance 
of a man so well satisfied with his quarters that he had not 
the least notion of changing them. The Baron, finding that 
silence had no effect in dislodging his pertinacious guest, at 
last determined to speak out. Meeting him alone in the 
domain soon after breakfast, he thus addressed him : 

" I had hoped, Mr. Rigby, that you would have spared me 
the pain of telling you what I think my manner sufficiently 



56 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



indicated— that your visit is no longer agreeable. Is it pos- 
sible you cannot have discovered this ?" 

" Of course I have discovered it," returned Bigby. " You 
do not suppose me such a fool as not to have perceived that 
you became capriciously rude — from what cause I am wholly 
unable to guess. But this I know, that you invited me to 
stay for a month, and for a month I will stay. Your station 
in the world is fixed, but mine is not. Before I quitted Dublin 
I boasted among all my acquaintance of the flattering invita- 
tion you gave me. I told them I was going to spend a month 
with you. If I returned at the end of a few days I should be 
their laughing-stock ; my social position would be seriously 
damaged, and my prospects would be more or less injured. 
No, no. You certainly cannot be serious, Baron, in the in- 
tention of converting your kindness into a source of mischief 
to me." 

These words, spoken in a tone of civil but resolute impu- 
dence tickled the Baron's fancy ; he saw that his guest was no 
every-day character, and being an admirer of originality, he 
broke into a good-humoured fit of laughter, and permitted 
Bigby to remain until the month was expired. 

The anecdote is very characteristic of the energetic perse- 
verance which has marked through life the politician cele- 
brated in Disraeli's novel as " the Bight Honorable Nicholas 
Bigby." 

Bigby's next adventure of importance was his return to 
parliament. There was an election for the borough of Down- 
patrick. The contest was expected to be very close. One of 
the candidates was detained by an accident, and his friends, 
in order to prevent his rival from getting ahead of him, set up 
Bigby (who happened to be in the town) as a stalking-horse. 
Bigby was proposed and seconded — harangued the electors 
against time — a poll was demanded, and one vote was given, 
which, with the votes of his proposer and seconder, gave him 
three of the voices of the electors of Downpatrick. Just at 
this stage of the proceedings the bond fide candidate arrived. 
Bigby retired from the hustings, but made no formal resigna- 
tion of his claims. Fierce raged the contest. There was on 
both sides a tremendous expenditure of bribery. The election 
ended in the triumph of the man who bribed the highest ; and 
in due course of time his antagonist petitioned against his 
return. The sitting member was unseated for gross and cor- 
rupt bribery ; but the petitioner was not seated, for bribery to 
a great extent w T as clearly proved to have been committed by 
him also. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



57 



There had been, however, a third candidate, who had com- 
mitted no bribery — a candidate who had got three votes. 
The committee accordingly reported that " Nicholas Rigby, 
Esquire," had been duly returned for the borough of Dofeit- 
patrick. This decision astonished the public, who had looked 
on Rigby's standing for the borough as a mere electioneering 
ruse, and who, in fact, had forgotten the circumstance in the 
interest excited by the more important candidates. 

Here was a frolic of fortune. It is not every day that 
senatorial honours are flung at men's heads, and Rigby deter- 
mined to make the most of his sudden and unlooked-for eleva- 
tion. The gentleman as whose locum tenens he had been 
originally proposed to the electors, wrote him a very friendly 
letter, requesting he would resign his seat, as the writer wished 
to offer himself again for the borough. But Rigby resolved 
on keeping what he had got. What ! resign his seat ! How, 
in point of justice to his constituents, or consistently with his 
sacred duty to the country, could he surrender the important 
trust the electors had kindly confided to his hands ? Forbid 
it honour ! conscience ! patriotism ! Rigby's friend was com- 
pelled to submit to Rigby's virtuous determination. 

Our hero, in the year 1808, published a pamphlet entitled 
"A Sketch of the State of Ireland, Past and Present," in 
which he bestowed a description of contemptuous advocacy on 
the Catholic claims. His arguments went to support Emanci- 
pation on the ground of its being too insignificant a boon to 
be worth refusing. He styled it " an almost empty privilege. " 
He held the opinion that Emancipation would facilitate con- 
versions to Protestantism. 

" Trade," he wrote, 1 1 when free, finds its level. So will 
religion. The majority will no more persist — when it is not 
a point of honour to do so — in the, worse faith than it would 
in the worse trade. Councils decide that the Confession of 
Ausburg is heresy, and parliaments vote that Popery is super- 
stition, and both impotently. No man will ever be converted 
when his religion is also his party. But expedient as Catholic 
Emancipation is, I think it only expedient, and concede it not 
without the following conditions." 

He then enumerated four conditions, of which the most 
important were the payment of the priesthood by the state, 
the approval of the prelates by the crown, and the disfranchise- 
ment of the forty- shilling freeholders. Curious timidity, that 
sought these protective conditions in return for conceding 
44 an aimost empty privilege." 



58 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



It is creditable to our hero that in his Sketch of the State 
of Ireland he has anticipated the aphorism that acquired for 
the late Under-Secretary Drummond such extensive popularity. 
" A landlord," said Rigby, " is not a mere land merchant ; 
he has duties to perform as well as rents to receive, and from 
his neglect of the former spring his difficulty in the latter, and 
the general misery and distraction of the country. The com- 
binations of the peasantry against this short-sighted monopoly 
are natural and fatal." 

Candidly and boldly expressed. This evidence, coming 
from such a quarter, is worth something. Rigby had pre- 
viously given an accurate description of the rack-rent system. 
He, however, took care, more sno, to insult the objects of his 
advocacy : " The peasantry of Ireland are generally of the Roman 
Catholic religion, but utterly and disgracefully ignorant ; few 
among them can read— fewer write." (Thanks to the Protes- 
tant code that had made their education penal — but Rigby does 
not tell us so.) He goes on: "The Irish language, a bar- 
barous jargon, is generally, and in some districts exclusively 
spoken ; and with it are retained customs and superstitions 
as barbarous. Popish legends and pagan traditions are con- 
founded and revered." He elsewhere calls the people " utterly 
dark and blind." 

I have mentioned Baron Smith. That wayward functionary 
was a member of the Irish parliament, and supported the 
Union with a zeal which, in due time, was rewarded by his 
elevation to the bench. In 1799 he issued an ingenious 
pamphlet, entitled "An Address to the People of Ireland," 
recommendatory of the Union. He went largely into the 
question of the competence of parliament to annihilate itself, 
which competence most of the anti-Unionists denied. He told 
the Catholics that he did not know whether an Union would 
better their chance of admission to the senate, but suggested 
that at any rate it would not diminish it. On the question 
of commercial advantages he availed himself extensively of 
the petitio principii, assuming, as if it were an incontrovertible 
axiom, that the incorporation of the legislatures would, ipso 
facto, incorporate the nations, extinguish their reciprocal 
jealousies, and identify their interests. How far he was sin- 
cere in the profession of these views it would now be useless 
to inquire. But as a sample of the readiness with which he 
accepted, or pretended to accept, empty professions for sub- 
stantial securities, it is not uninteresting to record that he 
quotes the following passage from a speech of " that enlight- 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



50 



ened minister," as he calls him, Mr. Pitt, to prove that Irish 
commercial and manufacturing interests would sustain no 
injury, after an Union, from English rivalry or jealousy : 

" I will say," said Mr. Pitt, " that for an hundred years this 
country [England] has followed a very narrow policy with re- 
gard to Ireland. It manifested a very absurd jealousy concern- 
ing the growth, produce, and manufacture of several articles. 
I say that these jealousies will be buried by the plan [of Union 
which is now to be brought before you." Having quoted the 
above words, Mr. Smith exclaims, "I can entertain no fears 
that the statesman who thinks thus liberally, and speaks thus 
frankly, will, after an Union, make the influence of all Irish 
members submit to the mechanics of a single English town."* 

The English policy towards Ireland, described by Mr. Pitt 
as * 4 very narrow," has quite recently been described by Lord 
Dufferin in one of his letters to the Times in the following 
vigorous language: ' 'From Queen Elizabeth's reign to the 
Union," says Lord Dufferin (he should have said from Queen 
Elizabeth's reign until 1779), "the various commercial con- 
fraternities of Great Britain never for a moment relaxed their 
relentless grip on the trades of Ireland. One by one, each of 
our nascent industries was either strangled in its birth, or 
handed over, gagged and bound, to the jealous custody of the 
rival interest in England, until at last every foundation of 
wealth was hermetically, sealed." 

But Mr. Pitt's frank and liberal acknowledgment that this 
policy was " narrow," and his generous promise that an Union 
would render such narrowness impossible, inspired the con- 
fiding breast of Mr. William Smith with implicit and unlimited 
trust in Great Britain. It is not, however, thus that men be- 
stow their confidence in private life. Suppose, for example, 
that Brown says to Robinson, ' 1 My excellent friend, I acknow- 
ledge that I have always robbed and swindled you. I have 
counterworked your honest industry, deprived you of a market, 
and done my utmost to starve your wife and beggar your chil- 
dren. All this, I confess, was very narrow policy. But, nrv 
beloved Robinson, let us henceforth join forces. Give me, 
friend of my heart ! the key of your strong box and the control 
of your estate ; and you shall see with what noble and affec- 
tionate generosity I shall treat you for the future." If Brown, 
having plundered Robinson, thus addressed him, and if Robin- 
son gave Brown the control of his estate and the key of his 
strong box, we should certainly set down Robinson as a lunatic. 

* Address to the People of Ireland, p. 27. 



60 



IRELAND AND HEK, AGITATOKS. 



Pitt had admitted the past hostility, which in truth wag 
undeniable. The leopard cannot easily change his spots, 
There was absolutely nothing in the Union to extinguish that 
hostility. The Union could only invest our hereditary enemy 
with legislative power over Ireland. Irish commercial, manu- 
facturing, and trading interests were then prosperous, because 
the Volunteers had won free trade for Ireland in 1779. Prior 
to that period, the British parliament, deriving strength from 
the religious divisions of this country, had usurped the power 
of enacting prohibitory statutes and enforcing embargos, 
British statesmen might calculate that after an Union, the 
destruction of Irish industrial interests, which the prohibitory 
statutes and embargos of a former period had achieved, could 
thenceforth be effected by the enormous hemorrhage of Irish 
income, whereby Ireland would be deprived at once of her 
domestic markets, and of the capital which is indispensably 
necessary to create or perpetuate manufacturing establish- 
ments.* 

Baron Smith did not like the agitators. He got into the 
habit of introducing political dissertations into his charges to 
Grand Juries. A speaker at some public dinner at Tullamore in 
1833, had said that " Catholicity now held aloft her high and 
palmy head, unshaken by the stormy blasts of persecution." 
The Baron thought this bombast worth quoting and censuring 
in one of his charges. He used to come into court at two 
o'clock in the afternoon ; and, when opening the commission, 
he carried a vast manuscript, the terror of grand-jurors. This 
was his charge ; and even although his auditors in the grand- 
jury box might concur in the political views which he an- 

* The English jealousy of Irish prosperity sometimes peeps out in the 
shape of an apology for any suggestion that might seem calculated to pro- 
mote Irish interests. The following appeared in the Dublin Evening 
Mail in September, 1861 : " The dread of a cotton famine has so demen- 
ted the Lancastrians that one, writing in their behalf to the Daily New*, 
advises a recourse to Irish linen as a temporary substitute. But the 
audacity of the proposal is so glaring, that an apology is found necessary 
for counselling anything so desperate. 1 Without wishing 9 (says this 
friendly gentleman) i in any way to promote Irish interests, I venture to 
suggest, at this dull season, whether Irish linen might not in many cases 
be used instead of cotton ?' If Irish linen could be grown near Glasgow 
or Preston, there might be no objection ; but to encourage its manufacture 
on the west of St. George's Channel is only to be justified by the urgent 
pressure of necessity. Such inadvertent admissions betray the jealousy with 
which the efforts of this country to achieve a commercial independence 
for herself, are regarded by a great portion of the trading community in 
England." — D. E. Mail, quoted in Cork Examiner, 12th September, 1861. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



61 



Bounced, yet is said that they were wont to cast many a weary 
glance at the ponderous composition, whilst the Baron perused 
page after page of a document which, to their impatience, ap- 
peared to be interminable. 

It should be stated, to the Baron's honour, that as a judge 
he was humane, considerate, and painstaking. He went to 
the trouble of studying the Irish language, in order to render 
himself independent of interpreters, when witnesses were un- 
able to speak English. Of his views on Catholic Emancipation 
I cannot speak with certainty. He tells us in his " Address to 
the People of Ireland," that he supported the Catholic claims 
in 1795 ; but it is clear that he considered that the preserva- 
tion of the State Church Establishment and of Protestant as- 
cendancy should be carefully provided for in any measure of 
Catholic concession. I presume he held views on the Catholic 
question not dissimilar from those expressed by Bigby. 

Advocacy which was blended with a lofty assumption of 
superiority, or with actual insult, could scarcely be acceptable 
to the Catholics. This sort of insolent patronage was symp- 
tomatic of the general Protestant feeling of contempt for 
Papists which I have already noticed.* In truth, this was to 
some extent the fault of the Catholics themselves. I have 
known a Catholic family of respectable station seize, with 
alacrity which seemed servile, the proffered acquaintance of 
Protestant neighbours who were in no respect their supe- 
riors. Similar instances are consistent with my knowledge. 
A Protestant lady of fashion, angry with a female friend (also 
a Protestant) for introducing her to some ineligible acquaint- 
ance, exclaimed that she would avenge the affront by inviting 
the parish priest to meet the offending fair one at her house* 
This mode of punishing an affront by inflicting the parish 
priest on the offender, was thoroughly expressive of the Pro- 
testant estimate of Catholic society. 

Without disparaging the Catholic gentry, it must be owned 
that as a class they w T ere inferior to the Protestants in all the 
refinements of polished life. Exceptions, no doubt, there 
were ; but such was the general fact. The penal laws were 
the cause of this inferiority. It is uttering an obvious truism 
to say that the exclusive possession of power, official dignity, 
and political station, must necessarily have imparted to the 
habits and manners of the favoured class all the social ease 

* I once asked a baron (the son of a Union peer), whether any of his 
relatives were Catholics. " Oh, none," he replied, " except the bus- 
tards." 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



which results from the consciousness of command. Their 
peculiar advantages placed within their reach every facility of 
refinement. Their monopoly of so many other valuable things 
gave them almost a monopoly of civilization. It was a pro- 
verb, even so late as the first quarter of the present century, 
that " you might know a Catholic in the street by his crouch- 
ing appearance." The iron of the penal laws had entered into 
the souls of the people, and branded their manners with strong 
marks of their inferiority. The subservient spirit has long 
since passed away ; but I am not quite sure that in other re- 
spects Catholic society has yet fully acquired the polish which, 
from the causes already stated, is to be found amongst the 
upper classes of Protestants.* 

On the other hand, there is no vulgarity so odious, so 
offensive, so pestilent, as that of the Orange squireen. It is 
the ingrained vulgarity of mind, of soul, of sentiment. It is 
the loathsome emanation of " malice, hatred, all uncharitable- 
ness," in all its coarseness and deformity, unchecked and un- 
concealed by the conventional amenities of civilized life. 

" Decipit exemplar imitabile vitiis." 
The squireen class could imitate the bigotry of their betters, 
but they could not imitate the graces of manner which some- 
times invented the aristocratic bigot with something of a chi- 
valrous and dignified air. 

The Irish noblesse and leading gentry of the last century 
lived magnificently. The edifices they erected both in town 
and country — the scale of their household establishments — 
their equipages — were magnificent. In their manners there 
was V air grand ; their very rascality was of magnificent dimen- 
sions. There was no paltry peddling about them. You could 
hardly have found one of them capable of selling himself, like 
the Scotch Lord Banff, for the petty trifle of eleven guineas. 
The abandon, the laissez oiler principle was carried amongst 
them to the greatest extent compatible with social politeness. 
Whatever was bad, bigoted, or unnational in the aristocracy, 
was duly adopted and improved on by their industrious imita- 
tators, the small squires. Whatever tended to mitigate the 
evils of bigotry was beyond the imitation of the squireen class, 
because it was beyond their comprehension. How deeply are 
the Catholics of Ireland indebted to O'Connell for removing 
from them the galling indignities entailed by their political 
inferiority to such a thoroughly contemptible class ! 

* Written in 1844. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



68 



An amusing volume might be written on the exploits of the 
Orange squires of Ireland. 

Vulgarity of soul was of course often found among the 
possessors of thousands a-year, as well as of hundreds. The 
squireen magistracy were a curious generation. While the 
smaller sort of justices occasionally rendered their judicial de- 
cisions auxiliary to the replenishing of their poultry yards, those 
whose wealth gave them greater weight were in frequent com- 
munication with the Castle, recommending " strong measures" 
to keep down the people, such as the increase of the consta- 
bulary or military force, the proclaiming of disturbed districts ; 
the enforcement of the insurrection act, or the suspension 
of the Habeas Corpus. Complaints against obnoxious indivi- 
duals were frequently made in these communications. The 
government were earwigged by the " loyalists," as the op- 
pressors of the people thought proper to term themselves ; 
and doubtless many a poor devil who never dreamt of plots or 
conspiracies, has been indicated to the executive as concerned 
in revolutionary projects. 

One ludicrous instance of this species of volunteer espionage 
is deserving of record. The officious informant of the govern- 
ment flew at higher game than ordinary, He was a magis- 
trate, a grand-juror, a man of family and fortune. The ob- 
ject of his attack was also a magistrate and grand-juror, 
and of lineage and station at least equal to his own. They 
were both " good loyalists ; " the former gentleman amused 
his leisure hours with a corps of cavalry yeomanry of which 
he was the captain, and which he seemed to consider indis- 
pensable to the stability of British connexion. 

These dignitaries quarrelled with each other. It was a private 
dispute — I do not know its nature ; perhaps it concerned the 
comparative merits of their foxhounds. The Accusing Angel 
(whom I shall call Mr. A.) conceived that the most exquisite 
revenge he could take would be to procure the dismissal of his 
foe (Mr. B.) from the commission of the peace. 

Mr. A. was in constant communication with the government. 
He wrote frequent letters to the Viceroy or his Secretary, ex- 
patiating on the demoniac disposition of the people, on the 
perpetual perils besetting the well-affected, and in especial on 
his own great merits. The literary qualities of his correspon- 
dence must have amused the official critics at Dublin Castle, 
for his orthography was unfettered by the usual rules, and he 
sometimes introduced a colloquial oath by way of giving ad- 
ditional emphasis to his statements. His despatches, with 



64 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



some such announcements as these, that "by ! the country 

was in a truly aweful situation" — that "they ought to look 
sharpe after Mr. Murtogh O'Gruggerty," &c, had been usually 
received with such respectful consideration by official persons, 
that at last he began to consider himself all-powerful with the 
Irish administration. His correspondence was "private and 
confidential ;" so that he revelled in the double confidence of 
power and secrecy. 

He accordingly wrote to apprise the Lord Lieutenant that 
Mr. B. was a political hypocrite, who, while wearing the out- 
ward marks and tokens of loyalty, was destitute of its inward 
and spiritual graces ; that, in fact, he was secretly a captain 
of Whiteboys, a most dangerous character, and one who ought 
promptly to be struck off the list of magistrates. Mr. A. did 
not entertain a doubt that the return of the post would bring 
with it a supersedeas for his enemy from the Lord Chancellor ; 
and he chuckled with anticipated ecstasy over B's mortification, 
and his ignorance of the quarter whence the arrow was aimed. 

Although they had quarrelled, yet they had not quite dis- 
continued their acquaintance. Mr. A., therefore, was not very 
much astonished when he saw Mr. B. one fine morning ap- 
proaching his house on horseback. "Perhaps," thought he, 
" B. is coming to make up matters if he can — I wonder has he 
heard of his dismissal yet ?" 

The visitor, seeing the man of the house on his hall- door 
steps, hastened forward, reached the mansion in a few moments 
sprang from the saddle, and, horsewhip in one hand, presented 
with the other a written paper, saying : 

" There, sir, is the copy of a document signed with your 
name, which I have received from Dublin Castle by this 
morning's post. It foully and falsely accuses me of being a 
captain of Whiteboys, and demands my dismissal from the 
magistracy. I have come to ask whether you are the author of 
this rascally document ?" 

Mr. A. was so thunder-stricken at the suddenness, the total 
unexpectedness, of such an accusation, that he was quite at a 
loss what to answer. He stammered out an admission that he 
had written the letter. 

" Then," said B., " walk into the house this instant, and 
write a contradiction of it, which I shall dictate." Mr. A. 
could not choose but comply. B. immediately dictated a very 
full and unqualified contradiction, which A. duly wrote, and of 
which, the instant it was written, B. took possession. He then 
quitted the house with scant ceremony, and despatched to the 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



65 



Chancellor the exculpation he had extorted from his accuser. 
Of course he was not dismissed from the magistracy. Nor 
was his accuser dismissed, the government probably attribu- 
ting his escapade to an exuberance of loyal zeal. 

Of the accusing justice the following anecdote was told me 
by a beneficed clergyman of the Established Church. His 
worship had an inveterate habit of profane swearing. At a 
meeting of magistrates, presided over by the Protestant rector 
of the parish, who was also a magistrate, he, as usual, gave 
emphasis to his opinion by a blasphemous oath. The rector, 
scandalised at the impiety, said, " I shall fine yon tenpence 

sir, for swearing in court." " Here it is by !" said the 

other, handing up the tenpenny piece (it was before the days 
of the shillings) and accompanying the coin w T iih a repetition 
of the blasphemy. " Another fine for that," said the rector. 
The justice tendered a second tenpenny with a similar profane 
accompaniment. And so on, the magistrate swearing, and the 
rector fining him, until he had emitted some eight or ten oaths, 
and got rid of a corresponding number of tenpennies. His 
worship probably considered the affair an excellent joke. 

This gentleman was the juror who, at the Cork assizes, 
presented to the court, in the character of foreman, the verdict 
of guilty, which he had spelled " gilty." 

" That's badly spelled," said the counsel for the defence,* 
who was near the box, and seized the paper in transitu. 

" How shall I mend it?" inquired the foreman, abashed 
and confused at this public censure. 

"Put n, o, t, before it," returned the counsel, handing back 
the paper for the emendation, which the foreman immediately 
made in bewildered unconsciousness of the important nature 
of the change. 

" There — that will do," said the counsel, taking the amended 
document, and handing up "not gilty' to the court. A 
fortunate interposition. The juror in question had a mania 
for hanging. He had, in his impetuous haste, handed in the 
issue paper without consulting his brethren of the jury-box. 
But if the prisoner, in that instance, escaped death, in how 
many instances were the miserable victims sacrificed ? A 
verdict of guilty was easily obtained from jurors who belonged 
to a class that deemed accusation sufficient to establish crimi- 
nality, and with whom the received policy was that of hanging 
the accused, " to make an example, and to preserve the quiet 
of the country." 

* Harry Deane Grady. 



66 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



CHAPTER VI. 

" A man he was, to all the country dear." 

Goldsmith. 

There occurred in 1816, an incident strikingly illustrative of 
the Protestant ascendancy policy of making examples to pre- 
serve the quiet of the country. 

The gentleman who officiated as peace-preserver on the 
occasion to which I now allude, was the Rev. John 
Hamilton, Protestant curate of Roscrea, in the King's county, 
and a magistrate. The reverend gentleman had been trans- 
planted to Roscrea from the county Fermanagh. In politics 
he was an enthusiastic Orangeman ; his personal disposition 
appears to have been romantic and adventurous. 

Mr. Hamilton, on receiving his appointment to the magis- 
tracy, promised, as he afterwards boasted, to distinguish him- 
self by his zeal in discharging the duties of his office. He 
speedily set about redeeming his promise. The Monaghan 
militia, commanded by Colonel Kerr, were at that time 
quartered in Roscrea. They were all of red-hot Orange 
principles; and it was the familiar practice of the reverend 
gentleman to obtain from the commanding officer parties of 
the men, who scoured the country, firing shots, playing 
party tunes, and thus exhibiting their ardent loyalty in 
a sort of irregular ovation of perpetual recurrence. But these 
triumphant feux-de-joie and the accompanying martial music 
could not long furnish serious occupation to a spirit so adven- 
turous as that of the Rev. John Hamilton. 

There resided at Roscrea two highly respectable Catholic 
distillers, the Messieurs Daniel and Stephen Egan. There 
was also in that town a rival distiller named Birch, a wealthy 
Protestant, in whose family the reverend gentleman had 
officiated as tutor for some time after his appointment as 
curate. 

It occurred to the Rev. Mr. Hamilton, J. P., to evince 
his magisterial zeal by implicating the Messieurs Egan in a 
criminal conspiracy to murder the Protestant gentry of the 
neighbourhood. He was bustling, active, and artful ; and 
finding in many of his neighbours the ready credulity of pre- 
judice, he soon succeeded in creating serious alarm in their 
minds. He procured the aid of a confederate, named Dyer, 
who was groom or stableman in the employment of Mr. Birch 
(the reverend gentleman's patron) ; and Dyer, being duly 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



67 



drilled by Mr. Hamilton, swore informations bearing that 
several persons, engaged in the murderous conspiracy afore- 
said, occasionally rendezvoused in a valley called The Cockpit, 
situated in the domain of the Hon. Francis Aldborough 
Prittie, M.P., for the purpose of concerting their organization, 
and also of practising the manoeuvres of military exercise. 

Matters were not yet ripe enough to explode the plot against 
the Egan family. An assistant for Dyer was procured from 
Dublin, a dexterous practitioner in informations, named Half- 
penny, alias Halpin. He was then in the police, an attache 
of Major Sirr's office. He had in 1798 displayed great activity 
as an informer. On this man's arrival at Roscrea, he was 
taken into the councils of the Rev. Mr. Hamilton. 

That reverend gentleman, his wife, and Halpin, dressed up 
a straw figure in a suit of Mr. Hamilton's clothes. They 
placed this figure, in a sitting attitude, at a table in a parlour 
on the ground floor of Mr. Hamilton's house ; its back was 
turned towards the window ; on the table before it was ex- 
panded a large Bible ; a pair of candles stood upon the table. 
From without, the appearance of this pantomime was precisely 
that of the reverend pastor of the Roscrea Protestants, deeply 
immersed in the study of the Word of God. The scenic 
illusion in the parlour being thus prepared, the reverend 
gentleman furnished a pistol to Halpin, who, with Dyer, had 
received his instructions to fire through the window at the 
stuffed figure. A man named Quinlan was inveigled to join 
the shooting party. Dyer and Halpin, in obedience to Mr. 
Hamilton's injunctions, fired through the sash at that reverend 
gentleman's straw representative, the window- shutters having 
been left open for the purpose. The figure was hit in the 
back with a bullet — the Bible was dislodged — two bullets 
struck the opposite wall. 
I Dire was the commotion that instantly prevailed through the 
town. The shout rang from mouth to mouth that the excel- 
lent pastor had been fired at while studying the Bible. He had 
escaped — hurrah ! by the special interposition of Providence. 
His preservation was, doubtless, miraculous ; but who could 
say that the same overruling care would be vouchsafed to the 
other Protestant inhabitants, whose lives were equally me- 
naced by the Popish conspiracy which had thus been merci- 
fully baulked of its first intended victim ? The Protestants 
clearly must defend themselves. 

The drums beat to arms. Parties of the Monaghan militia 
paraded the streets. Inhalf-an-hour the Messieurs Egan, who 



68 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



were quietly sitting with some friends, were arrested by a 
piquet, and conveyed to the guard-house, where they were 
detained for the whole night on a charge of conspiring to 
murder the Rev. Mr. Hamilton. These events all took place 
on the night of the 28th of December, 1815. 

Next morning the two Egans were bailed out with great 
difficulty by the strenuous exertions of their friends. For 
some days a calm succeeded, interrupted only by the occa- 
sional nocturnal visits of Mr. Hamilton and the police to Mr. 
Egan's house, under pretext of searching for arms. 

It was surmised — I pretend not to say with what truth — 
that the government felt rather disinclined to follow up the 
prosecution in consequence of the excellent character always 
borne by the parties accused. But Lord Norbury and the 
Earl of Rosse so vehemently urged the prosecution, that the 
scruples, if any, of the government were overruled. A fresh 
witness to sustain the accusation was procured in the person 
of one Hickey, brother-in-law of the first witness, Dyer. 

Meanwhile the rampant delight of the Orange inhabitants 
of Roscrea was evinced in the most noisy and extravagant 
manner. Colonel Kerr was an active partizan of the Rev. 
Mr. Hamilton. He permitted the tattoo to be beaten through 
the town every evening, the drums being followed by a large 
military escort, at whose head the reverend gentleman osten- 
tatiously strutted, arrayed in an orange cloak, and wearing 
round his waist a belt studded with pistols. This melodra- 
matic exhibition was enlivened by such tunes as 6 ' Boyne 
Water," and " Protestant Boys," played on the military 
fifes. 

On the morning following the attack on the stuffed figure, 
the Hon. Mr. Prittie visited the Rev. Mr. Hamilton to inquire 
the particulars, and asked him whether his (Mr. H.'s) son had 
not had a great escape ? 

"Yes, sir," replied Mr. Hamilton. 

" Where were you sitting " demanded Mr. Prittie, " when 
the shot ivas fired at you V 

" There, sir," answered Mr. Hamilton, pointing to a table 
in the room. Mr. Hamilton thus sought to confirm Mr. 
Prittie in the belief which that gentleman had, in common 
with the public, then adopted — namely, that the shot had been 
actually fired at himself. This attempt at deception should 
be carefully borne in mind, because it neutralizes the defence 
which the reverend gentleman set up for his conduct at a 
subsequent stage of the affair. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



69 



On the 11th January, 1816, the Messieurs Egan were ar- 
rested under a warrant of the Rev. Mr. Hamilton's. They 
were placed in the custody of a party of soldiers and marched 
to the inn, where they found some eight or ten persons in 
custody, on the charge of being also involved in the murder- 
ous conspiracy. The last-named parties were confined for the 
night in the uuard-room. 

At ten o'clock on the following forenoon all the prisoners 
set out to Clonmel, which is forty miles distant from Ros- 
crea, escorted by a large body of military and police. The 
Egans travelled in a chaise, which proceeded at a footpace ; 
the other prisoners walked, handcuffed, after the carriage. 
The first day's journey was to Templemore. It was rendered 
extremely fatiguing by the slowness of the pace and the incle- 
mency of the weather. The rain poured down in torrents, 
and the prisoners, on arriving at Templemore, were con- 
ducted to a miserable den without a fireplace, appropriately 
named the Black Hole, in which they would have spent the 
night but for the humane interposition of Sir John Carden, 
who obtained for them the accommodation of the inn. 

Next clay they proceeded to Cashel, where they were con- 
signed to a small, dreary, damp apartment without any sort of 
furniture. They applied for permission to occupy the inn, 
but met a refusal on the plea that the disturbed state of the 
country would render compliance dangerous. It was, how- 
ever, resolved to forward them at once to Clonmel. 

A curious incident occurred within a few miles of the latter 
town. Two of the escort appeared to quarrel with each other, 
aud in the course of the dispute they fell from their horses. 
The steeds, released from their riders, ran away, and the whole 
escort, with the exception of a single policeman, made off in 
pursuit of them. The solitary guard approached the Egans 
and strenuously urged them to escape. " I will follow my com- 
rades," said he, " in pursuit of the runaway horses, and you 
can then act as you please." But the prisoners, apprehensive 
of some trick, rejected the advice thus urgently offered, and 
quietly awaited the return of the party of police. 

Arrived at Clonmel, they were met in the jail by the Rev. 
Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Corker Wright,* a magistrate, who 

* This Mr. Corker Wright's house, near Shinrone, was the scene of a 
bloody tragedy in 1815. A parly had been got up to attack the house, 
it is supposed with his knowledge, and arranged by his steward, Hoey. 
At all events, the plan was fully known before it was acted upon, for a 
party of soldiers were in the house awaiting the assailants, in company 



70 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



had zealously interested himself in the prosecution, Mr. 
Wright, on the following morning, visited the prisoners, affect- 
ed great friendliness, and strongly advised them to confess all 
they knew of the ' 1 conspiracy," promising to exert his in- 
fluence to procure their pardon. Of course an indignant dis- 
claimer of all knowledge of any conspiracy, was the only reply 
elicited by this treacherous suggestion. The Egans were then 
invited to see the various apartments of the jail. In one room 
they were shown the hangman busily preparing ropes for the 
next execution. But this sight failed to scare them into the 
false and foolish act of self-crimination. 

In a few days the special commission was opened by Lord 
Norbury and Baron George. The crown-prosecutor was 
Charles Kendal Bushe, then Solicitor- General, and afterwards 
Lord Chief Justice. The public augured very gloomily for 
the prisoners when it was known that Lord Norbury was to 
try the case. Norbury had a terrible reputation for severity. 
" We'll have great hanging next assizes — Lord Norbury's to 
come V 9 was a phrase that familiarly heralded his lordship's 
approach to assize towns on the circuit. 

Two witnesses came from Roscrea to bear testimony to the 
excellent character of the Egans. One of these was the Rev. 
Mr. L'Estrange, Protestant Rector of Roscrea. The other 
was a Protestant layman, Mr. William Smith, who informed 
the prisoners that shortly previous to the firing at the straw 
parson through the window, he had been present at a dinner 
party given by Mr. Birch, of Roscrea, at the Rev. Mr. Hamil- 
ton's instance. It was there stated that the Egans were ac- 
cused, on Dyer's sworn informations, of drilling men in the 
domain of the Hon. Mr. Prittie for treasonable purposes ; and 
Mr. Smith was then told that he should be apprised of the 
mode in which it was intended to proceed against them, pro- 
vided that he took an oath to keep secret the particulars. 
Mr. Smith rejected this condition, stating his conviction that 
the Egans were incapable of the imputed criminal acts ; and 
that to his own personal knowledge, Dyer had sworn falsely, 
inasmuch as the Egans were in another place at the very time 

with whom it is alleged that they marched for a part of the way. Arriving 
before the assailants, the military were stationed on the stair-head. The 
aggressors entered without any opposition. One of them lighting a candle, 
exposed the whole party to the soldiers, who immediately fired and killed 
them all. Not a man was left to disclose the agency by which the attack 
was concerted. The bodies were paraded on cars through the neighbour- 
ing villages on the following day, as trophies of the victory obtained by 
Mr. Corker Wright. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



71 



when they were sworn by that person to have been drilling 
men in Mr. Prittie's grounds. 

Dyer was of course the principal witness. He gave his 
evidence with great self-possession and dexterity. He deposed 
to several meetings for military exercise in Mr. Prittie's domain. 
He was obliged to confess, on cross-examination, that he was 
in the receipt of five shillings a-week for suppressing his evi- 
dence against one Francis Cotton,* on a trial in which the 
said Cotton had been charged with the murder of a man named 
Quigley. The admission of his own infamy in compounding 
the felony of murder, necessarily deprived his evidence against 
the Egans of weight with the jury. Contradictions in his 
testimony were also elicited on cross-examination. 

The Rev. John Hamilton was the next witness. The trick 
of the stuffed figure had transpired ; and as he knew that a 
cross-examination on the subject awaited him, he resolved to 
put a bold face on the matter. Accordingly, in his direct evi- 
dence, he spoke of the effigy as a stratagem employed for the 
purpose of ascertaining if Dyer's previous informations were 
true ; but on his cross-examination he was constrained to 
admit that he had left the government, as well as several of 
his brother magistrates, under the impression that the firing 
at the effigy was an actual firing at his person. The reader 
will remember that when Mr. Prittie, on the morning following 
the attack on the straw figure, said to the Rev. Mr. Hamilton 
in that gentleman's house, " where were you sitting when the 
shot wens fired at you V Mr. Hamilton answered, " There, sir," 
pointing to a table in the room ,and thus attempting to confirm in 
Mr. Prittie's mind the belief that he had been actually fired at. 

When the reverend gentleman's testimony closed, the court- 
house rang with execrations, and the judges had some diffi- 
culty in restoring order. 

Halpin, and Dyer's brother-in-law, Hickey, were next ex- 
amined. Halpin gave his evidence with the composure and readi- 
ness of an expert informer. He inculpated Quinlan in the 
guilt of firing at Mr. Hamilton's effigy, under the belief that 
the effigy was that Rev. gentleman himself. Hickey's evidence 
tended to exonerate Quinlan from having fired ; but he swore 
that Mr. Stephen Egan had administered to him an oath to 
assist anyone who should attempt to take Mr. Hamilton's life. 

The infamous nature of the prosecution being manifest, the 
jury, without the least hesitation, unanimously acquitted the 

* This Cotton, and also Dyer, were subsequently in the employment of 
Mr. Birch, the distiller, at Roscrea. 



72 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



prisoners. Lord Norbury, deprived of an opportunity of hang- 
ing anybody, escaped from the court under the pretext of 
sudden indisposition, leaving Baron George alone upon the 
bench. 

Dyer, with the concurrence of the learned Baron, was placed 
in the dock by the order of the Solicitor- G eneral, and indicted 
for wilful and corrupt perjury. But the grand jury, thinking, 
perhaps, that he might be useful on some future occasion, 
committed the disgraceful act of ignoring the bill.* 

The liberated prisoners were warmly congratulated by their 
numerous friends. They had a narrow escape. Had the Rev. 
Mr. Hamilton's dexterity of execution been equal to the inge- 
nuity of his invention, it would have fared hardly with them. 
He wanted only the opportunity to become a second Titus 
Gates. It was a romantic experiment doubtless — that of the 
Orange divine, who 

" Stuffed a figure of himself, 

Delicious thought ! and had it shot at, 
To bring some Papists to the shelf, 
Who could not otherwise be got at."f 

The Egans on their return were obliged to enter Boscrea by 
a back lane 5 in order to avoid the sanguinary ferocity of about 
one hundred of the Monaghan militia who had turned out, 
half intoxicated, ready for a desperate riot. There were also 
a large number of Orangemen, armed and prepared for mischief, 
who excited alarm by firing squibs through the town. Colonel 
Kerr was with some difficulty induced, by the strong remon- 
strance of a military gentleman, to draw the soldiers into the 
barracks. Mr. Hamilton published a pamphlet in his own 
vindication. He expatiated on his magisterial zeal — on the 
innocent nature of the exploit of getting men to fire at his 
effigy, which exploit, he loudly protested, was merely an in- 
genious device resorted to with the view of ascertaining whether 
designs against his life were really harboured by the persons 
whom Dyer had accused. He disclaimed having represented 
to the government that the firing at the effigy was a firing at 
his own person ; he alleged that he had made Major Sirr privy 
to the trick, and that he had requested the Major to convey 
that information to the Castle authorities. If he did so at all, 
it was somewhat of the latest. 

* In 1844, Dyer was still living at Roscrea ; he was then old, and seemed 
penitent for his former awful crimes. The witness Hickey was sent out 
of the country, on the failure of Hamilton's plot, by the parties who em- 
ployed him, and is supposed to have gone to America. 

t " Fudge Family in Paris." 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



73 



The most amusing part of Mr. Hamilton's pamphlet is his 
solemn complaint that the Messieurs Egan showed no grati- 
tude to Colonel Kerr. He is also dissatisfied with Peel, who 
was then Irish secretary : " It is evident," says the ill-used 
clergyman, " that Mr. Peel's sole object was to vindicate the 
Lord Chancellor for not superseding me, and that he had no 
wish to defend me on my own account." 

One would think that Mr. Peel, in all conscience, had quite 
enough to do to palliate the retention of such a person in the 
magistracy, without entering on a defence of his machinations 
against the Egan family.* 

When we look back upon those dreary times ; when we 
contemplate the social and political depression of the Catho- 
lics, and the supremacy of their enemies in all the departments 
of the State ; when we think of the enormous influence pos- 
sessed by a virulent faction ; the vast array of selfish interest, 
deeply-rooted prejudice, and impenetrable ignorance, which 
had to be encountered and overcome ; it is difficult to form 
an adequate estimate of the merits of that leader whose voice 
inspired the timid and the spiritless, whose sagacity restrained 
the intemperate and rash, and whose influence combined to- 
gether the millions in that memorable organisation which 
wrung from reluctant bigotry the concession of the Catholic 
rights. O'Connell stated that a majority of the very House 
of Commons which in 1829 enacted Emancipation, had been 
returned in 1826 on pledges to resist that measure. As to 
the King, Lord Eldon has pourtrayed his majesty's virtuous 
agonies at being compelled to give the royal assent to the 
Relief Bill. ' ' What can I do ?" exclaimed the disconsolate 
monarch ; " what can I now fall back upon ? I am miserable — 
wretched. My situation is dreadful— nobody about me to ad- 
vise with. If I do give my assent, I'll go to the baths abroad, 
and from thence to Hanover ; Til return no more to England ; 
I'll make no Roman Catholic peers — I will not do what this 
bill will enable me to do — I'll return no more. Let them 
get a Catholic king in Clarence — the people will see that I did 
not wish this."t 

The Great Agitator triumphed, pro hac vice, over King, 
Lords, and Commons. 

* My account of the transactions described in the text, is compiled 
from a manuscript narrative lent me by one of the Egan family (Alderman 
Egan of Dublin), and a pamphlet published by the Rev. "Mr. Hamilton. 

f Twiss's Life of Lord Eldon. 



i 



74 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



CHAPTER VII." 

"He vowed before the captive's God, to break the captive's chain, 
To bind the broken heart, and set the bondman free again." 

Anon. 

O'Connell's transition from the lawyer to the statesman was 
a change for which his long course of political agitation had 
prepared him. He intimately knew the people whom he was 
now to combine for the revival of the national legislature, and 
whose scattered strength he was to consolidate. The Catholic 
Association was pronounced to be an imperium in imperio oi 
vast magnitude and influence. And so it truly was. But the 
Kepeal Association, which O'Connell founded on the 15th 
April, 1840, gradually swelled to larger dimensions than its 
predecessor. In 1843 it surpassed the Catholic Association 
in the number of its members ; in the extent of its funds ; in 
the steady enthusiasm of its friends ; and in the exquisite per- 
fection of detail with which its organisation reached every 
nook and corner of the country. 

The sentiment of nationality had ever been a ruling idea in 
O'Connell's mind. It broke forth at first in his memorable 
declaration prior to the passing of the Union, that he would 
rather behold the re-enactment of the penal code, than con- 
sent to the destruction of the Irish parliament. With that 
declaration most of his subsequent acts have been consistent. 
That he who fleshed his maiden sword in opposition to the 
Union should devote his matured abilities to the Repeal of that 
measure was naturally to be expected. He struck the right 
chord ; the sympathies of his countrymen responded. In Sep- 
tember and October, 1830, he addressed four letters to the 
Irish public on the subject of Repeal. Those letters produced 
a deep and general sensation ; and if the public adhesion to 
the cause was not then as universally declared as at a later 
period, the reason why men paused was the great magnitude 
of the measure, which led even those who most ardently 
desired it, to fear that it was impracticable. 

O'Connell's appeal to his countrymen was readily responded 
to. But it is a total mistake to suppose that such response 
originated solely in the leader's influence. It originated in 
the deeply-rooted conviction in men's minds that they were 
the worse for the suppression of their native legislature, and 
would be the better for its restoration. What O'Connell 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



75 



openly uttered, every man had felt before. The leader did no 
more than rehearse the popular sentiment. 

By-and-by public meetings began to spring up in different 
quarters. The opposition to the tithe- impost at that time 
convulsed every parish in the land ; and the two great ques- 
tions of the Repeal of the Union and the disendowment of the 
State Church were soon agitated together on nearly every rural 
platform. 

The landlords in great numbers espoused the anti-tithe 
cause. Protestantism they affectionately loved ; but the cheaper 
they could have it the better. Best of all, if they could enjoy 
it gratis. I knew in 1823 a landlord of conservative politics 
in collusion with his own Catholic tenant to defeat the exorbi- 
tant claims of the rector. The reverend gentleman claimed 
his tithe ; but the landlord, by collusive distresses for rent, 
contrived for some time to outwit him. The landlord, dis- 
gusted at the grasping propensities of his pastor, dropped 
his acquaintance, and the alienation continued for some 
years. It is said that the same landlord lay in ambush with 
a gun to shoot the parson's proctor, who presumed to enter 
on his Protestant premises in order to make a valuation of 
the growing crops, and that the angry gentleman was only 
restrained from some deed of violence by the strong remon- 
strance of a friend on the consequences which the act must 
have entailed on the perpetrator.* In fact, a great portion 
of the Protestant proprietary hated the tithes as intensely as 
the Catholics did — as intensely as they had been hated by 
their own Protestant predecessors, the members of the Irish 
House of Commons, who in 1735 passed the memorable Agist- 
ment Act that exempted all pasture lands from the claims of 
the State clergy, and threw the burden of tithe exclusively on 
tillage, f 

* I knew all the parties. This anecdote was given me as a fact ; but 
I think on reflection, that it probably originated in an angry threat 
which was interpreted too literally. Even thus modified, the story indi- 
cates a feeling of rage against the tithe-system. 

f This Act is generally described as having thrown the burden of tithes 
from the Protestant aristocracy on the Catholic tenantry. It, indeed, re- 
lieved the owner of pasture land ; but this relief imposed no additional 
burden on the owner of tillage. The man who tilled his land paid neither 
more nor less tithe after than before the passing of the Agistment Act. 
Moreover, tillage, in the early part of the 18th century, was so little prac- 
tised in Ireland, that the legislature, not twenty years prior to the Agist- 
ment Act, had passed a law to compel every man who occupied 100 acres to 
keep at least five acres tilled. Grazing was general; and the Catholic 
tenant who grazed his land partook of the exemption secured to pasture 
by the Act of 1735. 



78 



IRELAND and her agitators. 



" Down with the tithes," then, was the cry of many a Pro- 
testant landlord in 1831 and 1832. With some it was a 
purely selfish cry — a cry of men who simply preferred not 
paying money to paying it, and who dignified their conduct 
with the sounding phrases of " indignant resistance to an un- 
just and abominable impost," " sympathy in the sufferings of a 
Catholic people compelled to pay a Protestant priesthood, " and 
similar expressions of generous and lofty principle. Unjust 
and abominable is the impost, doubtless ; and a flagrant 
spoliation of the Catholics, from whom the church property 
was originally torn, and on whom, consequently, the support 
of two churches is thrown by the present malversation of the 
ecclesiastical state revenues ; but the animus of some of the 
anti-tithe landlords in 1882 was rather selfish than national. 
Many, however, were actuated by a purer motive. 

There was another section of the Protestant landlords, more 
important in respect of their wealth and position, and includ- 
ing many of the nobility, who rallied round the parsons at 
their utmost need, paid their own tithes, compelled (where 
they could) their tenants to pay theirs ; and entered into large 
subscriptions to enable the parsons to recover all arrears by 
legal process. 

The anti-national Church Establishment, thus supported at 
home, and backed from without by the power of England, out- 
lived a storm of well earned popular vengeance that shook 
every stone and timber in the edifice. It is an institution 
totally indefensible on any grounds of justice, honesty, or com- 
mon sense. The remark is now trite that Ireland is the only 
country on the face of the earth in which the whole ecclesias- 
tical State revenues have been grasped by the pastors of a 
small fractional part of the population. Such a monstrous 
outrage on the great principles of equity, and on the great 
majority of any nation, may be elsewhere vainly sought, either 
in or out of Christendom. In truth it is*an outrage which no 
thoroughly free country would submit to for a single day. The 
object of successive English governments in prolonging that 
outrage, is to prevent the fusion of Irish Catholics and Irish 
Protestants into one national fraternity. It is an engine of 
unrivalled efficacy in keeping Irishmen asunder — in perpe- 
tuating and intensifying their mutual jealousies and animosi- 
ties. It is a great pecuniary wrong, for it employs for ex- 
clusively Protestant purposes a vast national trust-fund, origi- 
nally instituted by Catholics for Catholic purposes, and now 
estimated by the Rev. Dr. Maziere Brady to amount to 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



77 



£700,000 per annum. It is a gigantic insult to the great 
majority of the nation thus to bestow their ecclesiastical spoils 
upon the small minority. The insult receives additional venom 
from the reckless assaults made by some of the State clergy 
against the elder church upon whose spoils they are fattened. 
With such a fertile source of irritation established in the 
country, it would of course be irrational to expect that the 
social frame should not often be seriously disjointed, or that the 
different classes affected by the ecclesiastical outrage — those 
whom it benefits, and those whom it injures — could regard each 
other with that cordial friendliness which, in its absence, would 
probably prevail. 

Let me here briefly notice a few of the pretexts put forward 
on behalf of the anti-Irish State Church. 

I. It is urged by the transcendental pietists of the Protes- 
tant party, that the State is bound to provide for the dissemi- 
nation of true Christian knowledge amongst the community. 

But these gentlemen have been in the habit of vociferating 
that " the Bible alone" is the sole arbiter of controversy. Yet 
here they make the State, and not the Bible, the arbiter of 
what is, and what is not, true Christian knowledge. It may 
be asked, what authority the State, as such, possesses to define 
theological doctrines, and in virtue of such definition to tax 
the public of all creeds for their diffusion ? The State in 
England has been Roman Catholic ; has been Puritan ; has 
been High Church Anglican; has been Latitudinarian. If 
the State have the right to hand over the national ecclesiastical 
endowments to the clergy that happen to accept its theological 
views, then it will follow that as often as the government sees 
fit to change its religious belief, it may lawfully enforce a cor- 
responding change in the destination of church property. 

II. The argument is sometimes put in this way : " The 
State is entitled to offer religious truth to the acceptance of the 
nation." 

The nation has at least as good a right to deny, as the state 
has to affirm, that the commodity thus offered is religious 
truth. The State has been making the offer to the Irish 
people (at their bitter expense) for more than three centuries ; 
and the people, strong in their own religious faith, persist in 
believing that the article offered by the State is a counterfeit. 
Even if we assume that the Irish people err in so believing, 
yet who, unless he be stone-blind from prejudice, will deny 
that a species of State-apostleship which the experience of 
three centuries demonstrates to be efficacious only in irritating, 
not in converting, stands ipso facto self- condemned ? 



78 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



I desire in this work to keep clear of all doctrinal contro- 
versy. But without entering upon any, it may be observed 
that independently of doctrinal grounds for rejecting the 
State Church, there is the significant fact that it is scantily 
believed in by large numbers of its own ministers. The Irish 
State clergy are perpetually claiming identification with the 
State Church in England. They imagine that they strengthen 
their position by hooking themselves on to the Anglican Es- 
tablishment. Well, for several generations great numbers of 
the English State clergy have been clamouring against the 
hard necessity of subscribing their own doctrinal code. In 
1772, and again in 1815, petitions from numerous churchmen 
for exemption from what they called " the grievance'' of sub- 
scription to the thirty-nine articles, were presented to parlia- 
ment. If the reverend petitioners really believed the articles, 
they could not have termed their subscription a grievance. 

On the 15th January, ] 863, a meeting of 300 " evangelical" 
clergymen of the English church was held at Bishop Wilson's 
Memorial Hall, Islington. At that meeting the Kev. Hugh 
Stowell thus delivered himself : " The astounding fact was 
now developed, that numbers had avowed themselves believers 
in the revelation of God, had actually taken upon themselves 
to teach that revelation, and were yet all the while hollow at 
heart, and unsettled in conviction." The Kev. Chairman of 
the meeting thus indicated the species of doctrine taught by 
these " numbers" of clerical dissidents : " The peculiarity of 
our present position is this, that the sceptical sentiments of 
the present day proceed not from the school of Paine or 
Voltaire, but from those who are within the pale of our 
National Church — from men who, by their station and pro- 
fession, are pledged to uphold themselves, and to teach to 
others, the doctrines of our holy religion."* 

On the 9th June, 1863, Mr. Buxton, M.P., brought a bill 
into parliament to abolish the necessity of subscription to the 
thirty-nine articles. He acted at the instance of ministers of 
the Anglican religion and candidates for ordination, who, as 
he described their pitiable case, felt their consciences tormented 
by the dire necessity of declaring their belief in doctrines in 
which they really did not believe. f 

Yet the Anglo-Irish Protestant clergy grasp the whole 
ecclesiastical State revenues of Catholic Ireland, on the pre- 
text of diffusing among us a doctrinal code which their clerical 

* London Liberator, 1st February, 1863. 
f London Liberator f 1st July, 1863. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



79 



brethren in England are trying to fling off as an intolerable 
burthen on their consciences. To some extent, the recalci- 
trant clergy have been successful. By the Act, 28th and 29th 
Victoria, chapter cxxii., entitled, " An Act to amend the Law 
as to the Subscriptions and Declarations to be made and Oaths 
to be taken by the Clergy of the Established Church of Eng- 
land and Ireland," a less stringent form of Declaration of As- 
sent is substituted for the previous forms of Declaration and 
Subscription. The short title of the Act is* 'The Clerical 
Subscription Act," and it is dated 5th July, 1865. I cannot 
see that the dissident clergy have gained much by the change. 
Although the language in which profession of belief is hence- 
forth to be made is undoubtedly to some extent relaxed, yet it 
still is, in express terms, a " Declaration of Assent ;" which 
cannot, I think, be satisfactorily used by men whose real sen- 
timent is Dissent. But whether the State clergy believe, or 
disbelieve, or doubt, or deny the truth of their own religion, 
the Irish nation is at any rate to be mulcted for its support. 

III. It is said in defence of the Establishment, " The earliest- 
Christians of Ireland were Protestants, whose belief was the 
same as that of the modern Anglo-Irish parsons. The parsons, 
therefore, are entitled, in virtue of their spiritual descent from 
the Irish Protestant Christians aforesaid, to enjoy the church 
temporalities of Ireland." 

I answer that, firstly, the statement is untrue ; and secondly, 
if it were true, it would not establish any right to the national 
church-revenues on the part of the Protestant clergy of the 
present day. 

The statement is untrue. For proofs of its untruth, I refer 
the reader to a book by the Rev. Dr. Rock, entitled, " A 
Letter to Lord John Manners," sold by Dolman, of London. 
Dr. Rock's book overflows with irresistible demonstrations. A 
volume on the same subject by the Rev. Mr. Gaffney, sold by 
Duffy, Dublin, may also be consulted with advantage. A 
work by the Rev. Dr. Moran* is also worth the careful study 
of those who are interested in the history of the early Irish 
church. Independently of the direct proofs contained in the 
works now referred to, there are historical statements made by 
the Rev. J. H. Todd of Trinity College in his " Life of St. 
Patrick," which seem wholly incompatible with the theory of 
early Irish Protestantism ; and which are the more remark- 

* u Essay on the Origin, Doctrines, and Discipline of the Early Irish 
Church. By the Rev. Dr. Moran, Vice-Rector of the Irish College, Rome." 
Dublin: Duffy, 1864. 



80 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



able, inasmuch as Dr. Todd rejects the Roman origin of SL 
Patrick's mission. 

Dr. Todd says: " The deadly hatred of England and of 
everything English, which has for so many centuries unfortu- 
nately rankled in the native Irish heart, was not at first 
created by any difference in religion."* 

This is an important statement. The creed of the English 
invaders was admittedly Roman Catholic. Now, if the creed 
of the native Irish had not been also Roman Catholic, it is 
plain that religious dissensions between the two parties, ex- 
asperated by their national antipathies, must have widely pre- 
vailed through the kingdom. But while history is full of the 
struggles for political power between English and Irish, it is 
silent as to any theological warfare between them. The only 
rational solution of this silence consists in the fact that their 
creed was the same. 

Accordingly, Dr. Todd candidly says : " There were two 
churches in Ireland, separated from each other, without any 
essential difference of discipline or doctrine, at a period long pre- 
vious to the Reformation. "f 

Observe the important admission, " without any essential 
difference of discipline or doctrine." Now, one of these two 
churches, or, more accurately speaking, these two hierarchies, 
is admitted on all hands to have been Roman Catholic. The 
other hierarchy, therefore, which did not differ essentially 
from Roman Catholic discipline or doctrine, cannot possibly 
have symbolized with the modern Protestant State Church in 
Ireland, which differs most essentially from both. 

The doctrinal and disciplinary identity of the ancient Irish 
and Anglo-Irish hierarchies is further shown by Dr. Todd, 
who says: "At a subsequent period, when the Anglo-Irish 
church had accepted the Reformation ;J the 1 mere Irish' 

* Life of St. Patrick, Introduction, p. 242. 
t Life of St. Patrick, Introduction, p. 241. 

X Which alleged acceptance is disproved by the Rev. Maziere Brady, 
D.D., and rejected as a monstrous historical error by so earnest a Pro- 
testant as Mr. Froude. Immediately following the passage last cited in 
the text, Dr. Todd, speaking of the post-Reformation period, says : " Mis- 
sionary bishops and priests, therefore, ordained abroad, were sent into 
Ireland to support the interests of Rome ; and from them is derived a 
third church, in close communion with the See of Rome, which has now 
assumed the form and dimensions of a national established religion" (page 
242). What Dr. Todd here calls " a third church," was precisely the 
same great mass of Irish and Anglo-Irish Catholics whom he admits to 
have been in communion with Rome up to the date of the Reformation. 
He seems, by the words " a third church," to ignore the lay element in 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



81 



clergy were found to have become practically extinct. Their 
episcopacy had merged into, or become identified with, the episco- 
pacy which was recognized by the laic. 11 * 

This quiet identification into one body of the two hierarchies 
shows that their religious belief was identical. This is evident 
when we consider the impossibility of such identification, or 
common merger into one hierarchy, of two churches having 
different creeds. For instance, the identification of the pre- 
sent State Church in Ireland with the Irish Roman Catholic 
church is impossible. Fancy the Most Rev. Dr. Trench cele- 
brating mass in the Church of the Conception ; or Cardinal 
Cullen preaching up the thirty-nine articles in St. Patrick's Ca- 
thedral ! But Dr. Todd informs us that such an identification 
of the ancient Irish church and the Anglo-Irish Roman Catholic 
church had actually occurred before the Reformation ; an iden- 
tification which could not have occurred unless their religious 
belief had been previously identical. 

But it may be suggested that the English invaders had, 
perhaps, infused their Roman Catholic notions into the minds 
of the Irish. 

To such a supposition Dr. Todd supplies the answer when 
he tells us of " the deadly hatred of England and of everything 
English, which for so many centuries unfortunately rankled 
in the Irish heart." That deadly hatred would have neces- 
sarily extended to any English religious opinions not pre- 
viously held by the Irish themselves. The Irish were not 
likely to accept the apostleship of invaders whom they held in 
mortal abhorrence. The inference is inevitable ; the Irish did 
not receive, and could not possibly have received, their un- 
doubted Roman Catholic.. belief from the English. Whence, 

the church, which constitutes the great body of its members, and which 
formed neither a third nor a second church, but remained unchanged in 
its hereditary fidelity to Rome. It is true that the ferocity of the Re- 
formed government deprived the Catholic people of home education for 
their clergy, who were therefore compelled to pursue their ecclesiastical 
studies in foreign seminaries, whence they returned to preach the old 
faith in Ireland, where, according to Edinond Spenser, M peril of death" 
awaited them. But the people of Ireland were, and are, unable to un- 
derstand how the tricks which the secular power played with religion In 
the sixteenth century, could destroy their own inherited identity with 
the church of their ancestors — even supposing that the alleged conversion 
of nearly all their bishops to Protestantism were historically true, instead 
of being, as it is, totally destitute of historical foundation. 

Dr. Todd's work displays much research, and possesses great interest, 
even for readers who do not acquiesce in all his views. 

* Life of St. Patrick, Introduction, p. 242. 



82 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



then, did they derive that belief ? There is but one rational 
answer — they derived it from the original founders of Irish 
Christianity. In fact, the difference between the early Irish 
and Anglo-Irish hierarchies was purely political or national, 
and not at all doctrinal.* 

But in truth the question whether the church of St. Patrick 
was Catholic or Protestant, is totally irrelevant to the claims 
of the modern State Church. Even if St. Palladius and St. 
Patrick had taught the thirty-nine articles, and converted the 
Irish of the fifth century to Anglican Protestantism, the 
modern State clergy would not be a whit the nearer establish- 
ing a righteous title to the national ecclesiastical revenues. 
For, in the first place, the legislator of our day has to deal, 
not with the fifth century, but with the nineteenth. Again, if 
the aboriginal Irish parsons of those early times were Pro- 
testants, they must have been an exquisitely good-for-nothing 
set of gentlemen, since it is clear that they suffered the whole 
nation to slip through their fingers into the hands of the 
Popish priests. On the modern " evangelical" hypothesis, 
those early pastors must have been given the church -revenues 
as the salary for teaching Protestantism to the Irish people. 
But they did not keep their part of the bargain, for they 
suffered all their flocks to lapse into Catholicity. They did 
not give value for the money, and they consequently became 
disentitled to claim it. 

How preposterous, then, to assert for the State clergy of the 
present day a right as derived from a long extinct generation 
of parsons, who, if they ever existed at all, manifestly forfeited 

* Among the proofs of the connexion of the early Irish church with 
Rome is a rule or canon, contained in the ancient Book of the Canons of 
Armagh, which enjoins that disputed matters which could not be settled 
by the local ecclesiastical authorities, should be referred to the Roman 
See for final adjudication. Here is the canon, as translated by the late 
Professor Eugene O'Curry : " Moreover, if any case should arise of ex- 
treme difficulty, and beyond the knowledge of all the judges of the na- 
tions of the Scots [i.e. the Irish, who were then called Scott] it is to 
be duly referred to the chair of the Archbishop of the Gaedhill, that is to 
say, of Patrick, and the jurisdiction of this bishop (of Armagh). But if 
such a case as aforesaid, of a matter of issue, cannot be easily disposed of 
[by him] with his counsellors, in that [investigation], we have decreed 
that it be sent to the apostolic seat — that is to say, to the chair of the 
Apostle Peter having the authority of the city of Rome. 

" These are the persons who decreed concerning this matter, viz., 
Auxilius, Patrick, Secundinus, and Benignus." (See " O'Curry's Lectures 
on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History," pp. 373 and 611. 
Dublin : Duffy, 1861.) 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



83 



all title to Ireland's church property some thousand or twelve 
hundred years ago ! Were such a plea valid, it would follow 
by parity of reasoning, that if the original holders of Irish 
church-property had been Mahometans, then a hierarchy of 
Turkish muftis would, at the present day, have a rightful claim 
to our ecclesiastical state-revenues. 

IV. It is strenuously urged that as nearly all the Irish 
Roman Catholic bishops at the period of the Reformation ac- 
cepted Protestantism, they became entitled, in virtue of their 
corporate identity, to carry the church property into the new 
creed of their adoption. 

But, firstly, the story of their conversion is a figment. The 
Rev. Maziere Brady and the Rev. Dr. Moran have conclu- 
sively disproved it. Next, if the whole Catholic hierarchy of 
the Elizabethan period had adopted Protestantism, I do not 
see how their conversion could have justified them in carrying 
into the Protestant Church the Catholic ecclesiastical property, 
of which they had been given the use on condition of their 
fidelity to the Catholic Church. On the contrary, it seems 
clear that by deserting Catholicity they would have forfeited 
their sole original right to enjoy the Catholic endowments. 
Suppose the whole English hierarchy were suddenly to become 
Anabaptists to-morrow, would they have a moral right, in 
virtue of their corporate identity, to carry the whole national 
church property of England into the Anabaptist communion ? 

V. It is urged that the disendowment of the anti-Irish 
State Church would invalidate or shake the title to all other 
kinds of property. Sir Hugh (now Lord) Cairns expresses 
the objection in the following words : "It was utterly impos- 
sible they could attempt to destroy any kind of property in 
the country without loosening the security of property of 

every kind They could not confiscate 

benefices without loosening the bonds that secured property 
of every kind in the kingdom." 

I quote the following answer to the above objection from 
the report of a speech which I delivered at the National Asso- 
ciation of Ireland on the day of its inauguration : 

"Just as if the ecclesiastical endowments, which Grattan 
called ' the salary of prayer,' stood on the same basis with 
private property ! The law creates the endowments. But 
the law only protects other kinds of property. The revenues 
instituted by the State as the salary or remuneration for the 
performance of certain specific public functions, are legitimately 
liable to interference on the part of the State that created 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



them. But this gives no precedent for interference with pro- 
perty which the State did not institute — property acquired 
from industry, or inheritance, or gift. So much for the prin- 
ciple. Then, as to the fact. All this hughear about loosening 
the security of secular property if the ecclesiastical revenues 
were meddled with — all these menaces were dinned into our 
ears when parliament, about thirty years ago, struck twenty- 
five per cent, off the Irish tithe rent-charge. But what private 
property was loosened or lessened by extinguishing one-fourth 
of the parochial revenues of the Irish State clergy ? Can Sir 
Hugh Cairns — can any man show that private property was 
shaken or diminished to the extent of one farthing by what 
the learned gentleman would doubtless call the confiscation of 
a fourth part of the Irish benefices ?"* 

VI. It is asked, " Would you make the tithe rent- charge a 
present to the landlords by a simple act of disendowment ?" 

Most certainly not. The revenues, in my opinion, should 
be secularised, and commissioners might be appointed by the 
State to apply them to public uses of general benefit. Mr. 
Miall proposed that the tithe rent-charge should be sold to the 
landlords at ten years' purchase ; and that the fund thus 
realised should be locally expended in public works. It has 
also been suggested that the poor-rate should be partially paid 
from the tithe rent-charge. The State Church property is a 
great national trust fund ; and honesty imperatively demands 
that it should be appropriated so as to benefit the whole Irish 
nation. Now, though it is the trust estate of all, it is dis- 
honestly monopolised by a small fractional part of the people. 
The Catholics were robbed of it in the sixteenth century, and 
the robbery is perpetuated on hypocritical pretexts and de- 
fended by shallow and insulting sophistry. ^Restitution might 
be made in either of two ways — by re-investing the Catholic 
Church with the ecclesiastical revenues, or by appropriating 
those revenues to secular objects for the benefit of the whole 
people. The former mode is heartily deprecated (and for 
excellent reasons) by nearly all the Irish Catholics. The 
latter mode commends itself as being an effectual scheme 
of restitution, and is beyond all comparison more easily 
achievable. 

VII. It is said, by way of showing that the Catholics have 
no right to complain, that the incidence of tithe, or tithe rent- 

* Page 14 of my speech, which was printed as a pamphlet by the Eng- 
lish Liberation Society, from whom it can be had at 2 Serjeant's-inn, 
rieet-street, London. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 85 

charge, falls upon the landlords, who are chiefly Protestants, 
and not upon the tenants, who are chiefly Catholics. 

A delusion. No person ever denied that, prior to the pass- 
ing of the Rent-charge Act, the occupying tenant, and he alone, 
paid tithe to the parson. Now, what does the Rent-charge Act 
effect ? It just substitutes the landlord for the tithe-proctor, 
as receiver of the impost for the parson. The occupying 
tenant pays it to the parson through the receivership of the 
landlord, instead of paying it as formerly through the receiver- 
ship of the tithe-proctor. It is true that the law now makes 
the landlord, instead of the tenant, the parson's security for 
the money. But the tenant is the landlord's security for it. 
Before the landlord pays it to the parson he must first obtain 
it from the tenant. As well might it be denied that the occu- 
pying tenant pays the rent, as that he pays the tithe rent- 
charge. The law, for the purposes of mystification, amalga- 
mates the tithe with the rent. But this very amalgamation 
demonstrates that if the tenant pays the one, he pays the other 
also. " A rose by any other name would smell as sweet 
and the tithe, whether styled rent, or rent-charge, or modus, 
or whatever else you please, has as foul a stench in the 
nostrils of Justice as in the days of Captain Rock and the 
tithe-proctors. It is indeed true that there are not now san- 
guinary riots between farmers and proctors as of old ; but the 
essence of the wrong is unchanged. 

A very erroneous impression prevails in some quarters that 
the Rent-charge Act conferred a boon upon the landlords, be- 
cause it professes to give them a bonus of twenty-five per cent, 
for collecting and handing to the clergy the remaining seventy- 
five per cent. Judging from my own experience, from my 
knowledge of the country, and from my communications with 
other landlords, I think it most improbable that a single land- 
lord in Ireland ever pocketed a farthing of the twenty- 
five per cent. The landlords have found it sufficiently diffi- 
cult to recover the seventy- five per cent, in full from theii 
tenantry. It is indeed obvious, as I have already said, that 
whatever the landlord pays the parson he must first extract 
from the tenant ; but it is equally true that the tithe rent- 
charge is paid out of a gross rental which in a good many in- 
stances is diminished by the repeal of the corn laws, whilst 
the septennial valuation of the impost is measured by compari- 
son with the standard of high prices that preceded that repeal. 

VIII. Some Protestant clergymen have the exquisite modesty 
to tell the public that the State Church revenues of Ireland 



86 



IRELAND AND HKK AGITATORS. 



are little enough for the support of their order ; and on this 
ground they deprecate reduction or alienation. For minister- 
ing to a small fractional part of the Irish people they are not 
ashamed to claim the whole ecclesiastical State property of 
the country. It is, they say, little enough. It is about 
^700,000 a- year.* If this be little enough for the pastors 
and church purposes of a fraction, let us ask to what annual 
sum would the payment of the Irish clergy of all churches, 
rated on the same scale, amount ? If the State Church clergy, 
whose flocks are between eleven and twelve per cent, of the 
whole, require £700,000, then the collective Irish clergy of 
all denominations would require something about six millions 
sterling per annum ! It is lucky for Ireland that her Catholic 
priests and her Presbyterian ministers have less inflated 
notions than the State Church clergy entertain respecting the 
amount of remuneration to which they are entitled. 

I have now noticed a few of the current sophisms employed 
to defend the infliction of a Protestant State Church on Catho- 
lic Ireland. As an institution of the State, it is a marvellous 
system of incorporated fraud and insolence. It robs the people 
and it insults their religion. When its advocates, clerical and 
I'Ajy have exhausted their eloquence in sounding its praises, 
we have only to look it in the face — to look at its shameless 
monopoly of a nation's church property for the benefit of a 
numerically small and wealthy minority — in order to condemn 
it as an abominable outrage on every principle of justice and 
of honest policy. If any Englishman thinks otherwise, I shall 
merely ask him what he would think of a Koinan Catholic 
Church Establishment quartered by law on every parish of 
Protestant England ? of fiery Roman Catholic polemics ex- 
tracting payment from English Protestant flocks for ferocious 
vituperation of Protestantism ? j 

* The Rev. Maziere Brady, in a letter to the Times, March, 1867, 
having enumerated various items of church revenues and church property 
omitted from an annual income of .-€420,000, which Lord Dufferin ap- 
peared to think was the whole, says, " If those sums were added to the 
£-120,000 a-year of which Lord Dufferin spoke, the total would perhaps 
exceed £700,000. But in the absence of any reliable return it is impos- 
sible to calculate with certainty the present revenues of the Establish- 
ment." 

f It would be most unjust to inculpate all the Protestant clergy of 
Ireland as firebrand polemics. Great numbers of them are incapable of 
the insulting malpractices referred to in the text ; and are personally so 
very estimable that it is really to be regretted that their unfortunate 
position as a State clergy in a Catholic country should deprive them of 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



87 



Why, let me ask, is the anti-Irish State Church upheld by 
English statesmen ? Why do they persist in inflicting upon 
us a wrong which the English nation would not submit to for 
an hour ? The true answer, I doubt not, is to be found in the 
traditionary Irish state-craft of English parties — in the belief 
that they cannot govern Ireland without a plentiful admixture 
of exasperating injustice. To keep Ireland down, it is neces- 
sary to perpetuate the distractions and miseries of her people. 
This policy is not new: " Some of her" [Elizabeth's] " coun- 
sellors," says Leland, " appear to have conceived an odious 
jealousy which reconciled them to the distractions and miseries 
of Ireland. 4 Should we exert ourselves,' said they, 'in re- 
ducing this country to order and civility, it must soon acquire 
power, consequence, and riches. The inhabitants will thus 
be alienated from England ; they will cast themselves into the 
arms of some foreign power, or perhaps erect themselves into 
an independent and separate state. Let us therefore connive 
at their disorders ; for a weak and disordered people never 
can attempt to detach themselves from the crown of Eng- 
land.'"* 

In the species of state-craft here described by the historian, 
we discern the policy that maintains the anti-Irish Church 
Establishment. " Let us connive at their disorders." It 
would tax human wit to connive at our disorders more ef- 
fectually than by forcing upon the country a corporate incubus 
of which social hatred and heartburning are the necessary con- 
sequences ; which generates an angry sense of wrong on the 
one side, and a sentiment of arrogant superiority upon the other. 
With such an ecclesiastical gangrene among us, it cannot be 
matter of surprise that a thousand acrid humours circulate their 
poison through the nation's veins, and keep the body politic 
in a chronic condition of disease. 

This is the true purpose and mission of the anti-Irish State 
Church. 

Before I close this chapter I shall say a word or two on 
the proposals, from time to time suggested, to purchase the 
Catholic clergy by pensions, or glebe, or some other sort 
of state-endowment. 

the popularity which their amiable qualities would probably otherwise 
acquire. But there are also many whose controversial zeal renders them 
intolerable nuisances. All alike are in a false position. 

* Leland's Hist. Ireland, book iv. chap. 3. I have said nothing of 
the doctrinal character of the State Church ; such a topic being wholly 
irrelevant to the subject of this chapter. 



88 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Statesmen regard the endowment of any church by the 
State in the light of a bribe to its clergy. Thus, Lord Castle- 
reagh speculated on purchasing the support of the Presbyterian 
clergy for the Union by an augmentation of the Eegium Donum. 
On the 23rd November, 1798, he wrote as follows to William 
Wickham, Esq. : " Of late they (the Presbyterians) are rather 
tired of the treason in which they had very deeply embarked ; 
perhaps they may be inclined to compromise with the Union ; 
some additional provision for the clergy, connecting the church 
more closely with the crown, would probably disarm the opposi- 
tion, if not secure the support of that body"* 

In the recently published Correspondence of Earl Grey,f we 
find the following passage in a letter addressed by Sir Herbert 
Taylor to that nobleman : " Your lordship is aware that I was 
private secretary to King George III. when the correspondence 
took place with the administration of which you were a mem- 
ber, on the Catholic question, and I was of course privy to all 
that passed (His Majesty being blind), and had opportunities 
of learning his sentiments not consigned to paper. I am 
almost confident that he more than once said that he should 
not object to a proposition for giving a stipend to the Roman 
Catholic clergy, and that he observed that no better expedient 
could be found for reducing the influence of the Pope in Ire- 
land, and transferring their dependence to the government 
from which they would derive their means of support. I have 
heard the late Duke of York express the same opinion ; and 
the king assures me that the late Mr. Perceval had frequently 
stated it to him as an arrangement he should be glad to 
effect." 

It is needless to observe that the Catholic clergy give no 
allegiance to the Pope inconsistent with their temporal allegi- 
ance to their sovereign. What demands our attention is this — 
that the project of giving them a pension was considered in 
the light of a bribe by its authors — a bribe which was to buy 
them off from certain principles which it was presumed that 
they held. And in the light of a bribe would any possible scheme 
of endowing the Catholic clergy of Ireland by an English aud 
Protestant State be inevitably regarded, not only by the govern- 
ment, but, what is more important, by the people of Ireland. 
If the clergy of the Irish people became the paid officers of the 

* Cornwallis Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 247. 

f " The Correspondence of Earl Grey with King William IV., and with 
Sir Herbert Taylor. Edited by Henry, Earl Grey." London, John 
Murray, 183 7. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



89 



English government, they would utterly and finally forfeit the 
confidence of their flocks. We shudder to contemplate the 
scenes of anarchy and irreligion which would follow from such 
a loosing of the bands that now unite the people and their pas- 
tors. In the sound sense, the honesty, and the Christian 
fidelity of the priesthood, we have happily a full security 
against such a terrible result. They cannot be bribed away 
from Irish interests. 

In Cardinal Cullen's Pastoral at the beginning of Lent, 
1866, he said, with reference to the pensioning project, " Timeo 
Danaos et dona ferentes." Now, in whatever shape the dona 
may be offered, whether in glebes, in pensions, or (if we could 
conceive aught so incredible) in a share of the existing eccle- 
siastical State revenues, it is certain that the offer would be 
meant as a bribe to purchase off the priesthood from the na- 
tional interests of their country. Both English Whigs and 
English Tories — the two great parties who alternately ad- 
minister the affairs of the empire — are resolved on preserving 
the Legislative Union as long as they can. That is to say, 
they are resolved to perpetuate the legislative disfranchisement 
of Ireland ; to prolong a system that deprives her of the sole 
control of her own national interests, and that gives to Great 
Britain about nine parts in eleven of the formal control of 
those interests, and in real fact the whole of it ; to prolong a 
system that results in the wholesale spoliation of the wealth 
which God has bestowed upon our island, and in the conse- 
quent depopulation that afflicts almost to madness every man 
who has a heart to feel for the wrongs of his expatriated 
brethren, and a conscience to abhor the diabolical wickedness 
of plundering a country of its riches and driving out its in- 
habitants. 

All this the Union does, and the people of Ireland know 
it. How could they retain their confidence in a priesthood 
capable of accepting any species of endowment from a govern- 
ment resolved to perpetuate that Union ? 

The scheme of dividing the present endowments between 
the Protestant and Catholic churches has been started by a 
gentleman whose personal character, position, and abilities, 
entitle him to our respect. I have publicly stated my objec- 
tions to this scheme. Independently of other objections, I 
regard it as impracticable. By seeking a share of the endow- 
ments for the Catholic Church, we should in the first place 
turn against us the English Voluntaries who at present are 
our only reliable allies. In the second place, we should en- 



90 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



tail upon our cause the weakness of internal division ; for no 
man who knows Ireland can expect that the mass of Irish 
Catholics would desert the Voluntary banner under which they 
have hitherto rallied, in order to fraternize with the claimants 
for Catholic endowment. We should encumber our agitation 
with miserable by-battles between the friends of total disen- 
dowment and the gentlemen (few, though indefatigable) who 
demand the division of the spoil between the churches. Thus, 
in the third place, we should furnish to the Whigs a plausible 
pretext for leaving the present giant evil undisturbed. They 
would be only too glad of the opportunity of telling us that 
until we were agreed among ourselves as to the proper remedy, 
they deemed it inexpedient to interfere with existing arrange- 
ments. 

The Catholic Church in Ireland has thriven and flourished 
for more than three centuries on the Voluntary system. It 
has struck its roots deep into the hearts of the Irish people, 
not only unsustained by, but in defiance of, the powers of this 
world. Circumstanced as Ireland has been, and is, can any 
man doubt that among the human motives which act in 
harmony with the principle of divine faith, supporting that 
principle and in turn receiving strength from it, is the deep, 
enduring, passionate love of country that burns in the souls 
of our people ? Let no rash hand attempt the terrible 
experiment of separating our devotion to the Catholic church 
from our Irish nationality. Let no fantastic theorist seek 
to reduce us to the awful alternative of abandoning our 
accustomed ecclesiastical obedience ; or of rendering that 
obedience to a hierarchy who would have forfeited our confi- 
dence by accepting endowments from a power that, whether 
nationally or religiously, cannot possibly have any common 
sympathies with Catholic Ireland. Let no rash hand, I 
solemnly repeat, attempt that terrible experiment. I do not 
believe that the scheme of dividing the endowments could suc- 
ceed ; but the very attempt pernicious. Its success — were 
success conceivable — would unlock the floodgates of infidelity 
in our midst. 

Nor would the political results of the scheme be any better 
than its spiritual consequences. An intelligent priest in the 
south of Ireland, conversing with me on the efforts the Catholic 
clergy had made to check Fenianism, said : " The people were 
just hanging on to us — we could scarcely hold them in ; but 
if they had been able to point to an endowment in our hands, 
we could not have held them in at all." 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



91 



Of the general principle of state-endowment of religion I 
shall here say nothing. But of its particular application by 
the Protestant government of another country to our national 
church I will say this : Every church which is endowed by the 
State must to some extent rely upon temporal support ; but 
the " vital power of religion is generally found to exist in an 
inverse ratio to its reliance upon temporal support."* 

This is at any rate true of Catholicity in Ireland. And may 
God defend us, and defend our remotest posterity, from the 
fatal pecuniary alliance between our national church and an 
alien, uncongenial government ! 

By an active, earnest, indefatigable union of action with the 
English Voluntaries, it seems to me quite possible that the 
Whigs — nay, perad venture, the Tories — may be driven, at 
some happy political crisis, to render justice to the Irish nation 
by disendowing the anti-Irish ecclesiastical garrison by which 
we are plundered, insulted, and divided. 



CHAPTER VII. 

"Then who's the wretch that hasely spurni 

The ties of country, kindred, friends ; 
That Darters every nobler aim 

For sordid views— for private ends ? 
One slave alone on earth you'll find, 

Through Nature's universal span, 
So lost to virtue, dead to shame, 

The anti-Irish Irishman." 

Spirit of the Nation. 

I have said that " Repeal" and " No Tithes" were associated 
on the platforms. The journals in the State Church interest, 
and the speakers and writers, lay and clerical, by whom that 
interest was defended, generally represented Repeal as a purely 
Popish scheme, designed to overthrow Protestantism, and 
fraught with peril to the properties and persons of Protestants. 
The true merits and facts of the question were carefully sup- 
pressed ; the most baseless falsehoods were boldly affirmed 
and reiterated ; the fanatical engine was incessantly worked ; 
and a profound impression was made on the credulity, the 
ignorance, and the religious prejudices of a large class of 
Protestants. 

So far as concerns the miserable wrangling of adverse reli- 
gionists, let it pass for what it is worth. A ferocious polemi- 
cal divine imagines that he has discharged a telling shot when 



* Rev. H. B. Liddon 



92 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



he has let off some fanatical impertinence about " idolatry," 
or " wafer-gods," or the " priest-ridden people." Well, he 
has been impertinent ; what matter ? None, surely — unless 
we get too much of his impertinence. I bear no enmity to 
any man for calling me a limb of Antichrist, and telling me I 
must necessarily go to the devil as a follower of the Pope. 
Certainly such language is not civil, and I am convinced it is 
not true. But there is little wisdom in quarrelling with men 
for mere incivility, or for a mistaken view of my chances of 
salvation. It is impossible to conceive anything more intrin- 
sically unimportant than the anti- Catholic speculations and 
incivilities of our polemical assailants. " Antichrist !" shouted 
at a Catholic by some delirious enthusiast, should no more 
excite his wrath than " d — n your blood !" from a drunken 
trooper. But the case is altered when the abuse of our faith 
becomes the watchword of a powerful party. When it becomes 
the rallying cry of men who avail themselves of the spirit it 
excites to assail our pockets or abridge our liberties, we are 
called on to resent it ; to resist the party who use their fanata- 
cism as an engine wherewith to work out our oppression. 

It is preposterous to talk of the anti-Irish Church Estab- 
lishment as a religious institution. Of the personal piety or 
of the doctrinal convictions of its numerous estimable mem- 
bers, I say nothing disrespectful. I speak of it solely as an 
endowed institution; and as such it is in Catholic eyes a 
purely political Establishment. What act has it performed — 
what ends has it achieved to answer the purpose of a religious 
institution ? From a Protestant standpoint it cannot seem, 
in this sense, valuable ; for it bas not converted the Catholics 
of Ireland to the Protestant religion. They were but as three 
to one during part of the last century ; now they are over 
seven to one as compared with the State Church Protes- 
tants — poor evidence of its missionary efficacy.* Has it dif- 

* In a paper entitled Ritualism in its Missionary Aspect, by an Angli- 
can clergyman, the Rev. Dr. Littledale, that reverend gentleman says of 
the State Church in Ireland : " Though called by some of its panegyrists 
a Missionary Church, how completely it has broken down in dealing with 
the Roman Catholic population need not be insisted on. It is enough to 
say, that even if the reports of the proselytising societies were as true as 
they are unscrupulously mendacious, the results would be a very poor 
return for three centuries of monopoly." (From " The Church and the 
World : Essays on the Questions of the Day. By various writers. First 
series. Edited by the Rev. Orby Shipley, M.A." Second edition. Lon- 
don : Longmans.) 

Archdeacon Stopford, in order to demonstrate the vast success of the 
State Church in converting the Irish from Catholicity, published in 1853, 



IRELAND AKD HER AGITATORS. 



98 



fused through the land the Christian fruits of peace, fraternal 
love, good will, and mutual tolerance ? There it stands, 
hating and hated, plundering and execrated ; in past times 
prolific of outrage, tears, and waitings ; in our own day proli- 
fic of bitter politico-sectarian animosity between classes who 
ought to have one common interest as Irishmen. It is a 
monument of English power and Irish degradation. 

These are the qualities that constitute its real value in the 
estimation of our Whig and Tory rulers. The Whigs, out of 
office, have often made political capital by denouncing it as an 
intolerable grievance. The Whigs, when in office, have looked 
with complacent philosophy at the intolerable grievance, and 
have not stirred a finger to molest it. They, as well as the 
Tories, regard it as a useful auxiliary in the misgovernment 
and robbery of Ireland. It holds out rich rewards to an im- 
portant class, to sustain in every possible mode the (so-called) 
interests of imperial England as opposed to those of their 
native country. The injury of being thus rendered subser- 
vient to the powerful rivalry of another land becomes the more 
galling, when, as in the case of Ireland, the depressed nation 
is compelled to be the paymaster of those officers who enforce 
and perpetrate its own servitude. A man who thinks he can 
smooth his path to station and salary by cryiug, " Up with 
England ! Down with Ireland !" finds the inducement to anti- 
national politics much augmented, when to the motive of self- 
interest is added the stimulant of sectarian partisanship. 

That such a wealthy exclusive institution as the State 
Church should have kept a considerable portion of the Pro- 
testant body from merging into the great national mass, is 

in his work called " Income and Requirements of the Irish Church," a 
table professing to give the number of State Protestants in forty-eiovht 
selected parishes in 1834 and 1851 respectively ; by which he made it 
appear that the Protestant inhabitants were greatly increased by conver- 
sions, and amounted in 1851 to no less than 12,372 persons. Mr. Her- 
bert Skeats, in his excellent pamphlet styled " The Irish Church : a 
Historical and Statistical Review," follows the Archdeacon through each 
of his forty-eight parishes, and finds, by comparing the Archdeacon's 
figures with the figures of the last census, that if there really were 12,372 
Protestants in those parishes in 1851, there must have been "the most 
alarming declension, in ten years, of the number of converts, or of mem- 
bers of the Established Church, that has probably ever taken place in any 
part of Ireland, or in any other country." And well might Mr. Skeats 
say so ; for the census of 1861 only gave a total of 6,939 State Protes- 
tants in the parishes in question. The other alternative suggested by Mr. 
Skeats is probably the true one — namely, that the Archdeacon's statement 
was inaccurate. 



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IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



not greatly to be wondered at. Eeligious bigotry, combined 
with pecuniary profit, has availed to perpetuate the original 
hostility to Ireland of the Elizabethan, Cromwellian, and 
Williamite adventurers, in the breasts of their descendants of 
the present day. This long- cherished hatred of a domestic 
faction to their countrymen has no parallel in any other 
country. You will find all Frenchmen, of whatever party in 
the State, zealous for the glory of France ; all Germans ardent 
for the honour of Germany ; Spaniards for Spain, and so on. 
It is in Ireland only that you will hear from the lips of her un- 
natural children the frequent expressions, "this odious land !" 
" this detestable people !" " England will drag her triumphant 
cannon over your prostrate carcases if you dare to resist,"* 
with innumerable similar ebullitions of venemous hatred of 
the unoffending people among whom their lot is cast, and 
whose only crime is that they agitate for the common liberties 
of their revilers and themselves. A trivial circumstance will 
illustrate the satanic activity with which, under the pretext of 
religion, hatred of the Irish Catholic peasantry is instilled into 
the Protestant mind. I recently chanced to converse with a 
young lady who had been carefully brought up under parsonic 
influences, and who, I am certain, would not wilfully calumni- 
ate anybody. She abused our poor countryfolk as a set of 
ferocious and immoral savages. Of course she had derived 
that impression from her intercourse with teachers and com- 
panions. I tried to undeceive her, and stated one or two 
reasons to show her that she was mistaken. " Ah !" said she, 
" I wish you had been the other night at the lecture we heard 

from the Rev. Mr. ! He said the country people were a 

dreadful set, and told us how, when going among them, his 
life had been more than once in danger from the ferocity of 
fellows who were hounded at him by the priests. I can tell 
you he was well cheered." 

I have no doubt he was well cheered. On my fair friend's 
table was a "religious" work, in which it was affirmed that 
the Irish Catholics considered it a greater sin " to eat meat on 
Friday, than to murder a Protestant for a consideration." 
These details may seem trivial. But such prejudices are not 
trivial in their consequences when kneaded into the minds of 
large numbers of, possibly, well-meaning people, the current 
of whose affections has been thereby turned from the land that 

* I found this anti-national brag in the report of a speech delivered by 
Mr. Emerson Tennent. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



95 



supplies them with their means of living, and from the people 
whom they ought to love. 

What, I ask, is the inexhaustible fountain of this pestilen- 
tial hatred of Ireland by Irishmen ? What feeds the stream 
of ceaseless calumny, insult, and political enmity ? Again I 
answer — the Church Establishment, acting through the in- 
terests it affects. 

Despite the lapse of ages, despite even the'connexions formed 
by marriage with many of the native families, the hostile spirit 
of the invader is as fresh, as vivid, in the modern descendants 
of the ruthless soldiery of Essex or St. Leger, of the sanguinary 
fanatics of the Commonwealth, or of the military settlers of the 
Williamite era, as it was some centuries ago in the breasts of 
their forefathers. They have never become blended with the 
people. I have heard language redolent of the most con- 
temptuous and envenomed hostility to the national population 
of Ireland, proceeding from tongues whose rich Hibernian 
brogue contrasted ludicrously with the anti-Hibernian senti- 
ments they uttered. Even the ignorant Orange tradesman 
still fancies himself a sort of Englishman in virtue of his Eng- 
lish creed, and the long habit, not yet extinguished by eman- 
cipation, of regarding its profession as a badge of social su- 
periorty. 

The most zealous Protestant, if sincerely desirous for the 
propagation of his religion, must desire the removal of a 
Church Establishment w T hich has rendered that religion more 
unpopular in Ireland than ten thousand Bellarmines or Bos- 
suets could possibly have done. 

The Catholic desires the removal of a system by which he is 
robbed. He desires that the scandalous malversation of a 
great national trust-fund should be put an end to. 

The Irish nationalist, whether Catholic or Protestant, desires 
to get rid of an Establishment in which he can only recognise 
an instrument of denationalisation, effectual in creating mutual 
distrust and hatred ; an instrument which debases and degrades 
the Protestant mind by withdrawing it from the real, vital in- 
terests of Ireland, in return for the protection afforded by 
England to domestic plunder. 

To any dispassionate observer at a distance, not aware of 
the source of the unnatural hostility of Ireland's domestic 
enemies to their country, how strange, how unaccountable 
must that hostility appear ! how strange that no national yearn- 
ings should be excited in their minds by the hallowed associations 
of home, the ties of kindred, the casting of their lot in the old 



96 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



land of their birth ; that the blending of their forefathers' dust 
for many a generation with Irish earth, should yet leave the 
living descendant as alien in feeling — nay, as hostile, as if no 
such associations existed to bind his heart to his fatherland ! 
Strange that the mystic voices of the breeze that stirs the 
ancient sycamores over his ancestors' graves, should not 
whisper to his spirit to love Ireland — to strive for her liber- 
ties ! Strange that he should have no pride of country ; 
that not only is he destitute of the ordinary sentiment of pa- 
triotism indigenous to every other land on earth, but that from 
his tongue should emanate the bitterest insults to Ireland and 
her sons — from his brain should proceed the wickedest devices 
to enthral his own countrymen ! I once heard a jovial Irish 
squire of Cromwellian descent, whose estate lay in as peace- 
able a district as any in the world, exclaim that if it were not 
for the personal supervision his property required from him, 
he would quit "this abominable country and go live in Eng- 
land." An orator named Harte proclaimed at a meeting of 
the Dublin Conservative Society some years ago, that " it was 
perfectly notorious to every man who heard him, that to be a 
Protestant in Ireland was sufficient to render life insecure." 
These instances are not isolated. The party who exhibit this 
astounding hatred of their country are indefatigable in their 
calumnies. The inspiring source of that hatred is clearly dis- 
cernible in the pseudo-religious character of their attacks. 
Take two instances which accidently met my eye when I was 
preparing the first edition of this work for the press ; the first 
of these is an extract from the Cork Constitution newspaper of 
July 27th, 1844. It is headed, 

" DOINGS IN DINGLE. 

" On Sunday last, the Eev. Mr. Brasbie read his public re- 
cantation from the errors of Popery in Dingle Church. The 
fact of a priest abjuring Popery caused great excitement, and 
the magistrates, having got full notice that the mob were de- 
termined to execute Lynch law on the priest on his road to 
the church, took full precautions to preserve the peace. Be- 
fore service commenced, the townspeople were astonished to 
see the Hon. Captain Plunket, of II. M. steamer Stromboli, 
march into the town from Ventry with a force of about 100 
men, including the marine artillery and marines, with drums 
and colours. This fine body of men, armed to the teeth, 
having joined the seamen and marines of H. M. brigantine 
Lynx, under the command of Captain Nott, presented such an 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



97 



imposing appearance, that, we need scarcely say, everything 
passed off very quietly. The coastguard from the surrounding 
stations were marched to church, fully armed, and conveyed 
the reverend gentleman to the house of the Rev. Mr. Gayer, 
where he at present remains. Mr. Gillman, our active sub- 
inspector, had all his police ready to turn out at a moment's 
notice. Dingle for the last twenty years never presented such 
a force." 

Lord Aberdeen, about that period, apologised in parliament 
for the non-transmission of a marine force to Morocco, as Her 
Majesty's war-vessels were on duty on the coast of Ireland. 
His lordship ought to have explained the tremendous nature 
of the duty which deprived the Mediterranean of the presence 
of the British flag. He should have announced that the Strom - 
boli and the Lynx were required to assist the "missionary 
church" (as the Evening Mail delights to term the Establish- 
ment) in the acquisition of the Rev. Mr. Brasbie to her fold. 

The whole paragraph is redolent of Irish State-Churchism. 
The transition from Popish error to Protestant truth is per- 
formed by the beat of drum and with the flourish of military 
colours. The triumph of having caught a priest who will re- 
nounce holy water and purgatory is combined with the con- 
genial triumph of saying to the mob," My lads, we have 100 
marines, all armed to the teeth, who will make smithereens of 
any man that dares to wag a finger." The orthodox parade of 
"such a force as Dingle had not seen for twenty years," is 
requisite to give due eclat to the Rev. Mr. Brasbie's exchange 
of Pope Gregory XYI. for Pope Victoria as the head of his 
church ; and moreover to protect the sacred person of the con- 
vert from the truculence of the " mob," who in all probability 
did not care three straws for the exploits of the reverend gen- 
tleman. 

The other instance is the allegation, by the Rev. Mr. Nangle 
of Achill, that eleven Achillonians had attempted to induce 
one Francis M'Hugh to enter into a conspiracy to burn Mr. 
Nangle's house. That reverend gentleman also printed in the 
Achill. Herald (of which he was the editor) a statement that 
the Catholics of the island had conspired to break into his 
dwelling and strangle the inhabitants. His charge of medi- 
tated murder and arson, elicited from Mr. S. C. Hall, the well- 
known writer, an indignant letter to the Times, from which 
the following paragraph is an extract : 

"The intention of the conspirators (writes the Rev. E. 
Nangle in his own newspaper, the Ac/all Herald — fruitful 

5 



98 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



source of incalculable mischief!) was to have come down in 
considerable force at night, to have entered by one of the 
senior missionary's (i. e. Mr. Nangle's) house, to have strangled 
him and the other heads of the mission in their beds, and, 
after robbing them, to burn their dwellings. 

" Eely on it, sir, there is not a shadow of foundation for 
this 6 horrible plot.' For the sake of mercy and justice, lend 
your powerful aid to prevent so foul a slander from obtaining 
credit in this country. 

"Without meaning to insinuate that this cock-and-bull 
story of conspiracy to murder wholesale has been got up for 
the occasion, I may at least say that it occurs at a lucky mo- 
ment for the colony, inasmuch as within the next month the 
Rev. E. Nangle will make his customary round of visits to 
several English towns, and deliver his annual oration at Exeter 
Hall ; the result of which, once a year, is a freitage of English 
gold to his small colony at Achill. I append my name, which 
you will either print or withhold at your pleasure. 

" Jan. 8th 1844." " S. C. Hall. 

Mr. Hall is not only a Protestant, but a Conservative. I 
mention his religious and political opinions, not that his per- 
sonal truth and honour are in the slightest degree thereby 
affected, but because there are readers who will more readily 
accept the testimony of a gentleman who holds his views than 
if it were the evidence of a Catholic nationalist. In fact, it is 
extremely difficult to suppose that Mr. Nangle believed in the 
truth of his serious accusations. They were, of course, inter- 
spersed with affecting expressions of pious regret at the dense 
spiritual blindness of the people. Mr. Nangle prosecuted the 
alleged culprits. The charge of attempting to involve M'Hugh 
in a conspiracy to burn the house was sworn to at the Mayo 
assizes of July, 1844, by that person himself, who appeared 
to be a convert, probably of Mr. Nangle's manufacture. His 
sworn testimony was rejected by Judge Jackson as totally 
incredible.* 

* Mr. Hall's appreciation of the moral merits of the onslaught on the 
faith of the Achill Catholics, sustained by English contributions of money, 
maybe learned from the following passage of his "Tour through Ireland," 
page 400 : " It was impossible," says Mr. Hall, " not to appreciate the mag- 
nanimity of the poor, miserable, utterly destitute, and absolutely starving 
inhabitants of Achill, who were at the time of our visit enduring priva- 
tions at which humanity shudders — and to know that by walking a couple 
of miles and professing to change their religion, they would be instantly 
supplied with food, clothes, and lodging. Yet these hungry thousands — 
for it would be scarcely an exaggeration to say that nine-tenths of the 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



90 



The work of pious slander is incessant. In July, 1863, a 
circular address was issued from "The Metropolitan House, 
Bachelor's- walk, Dublin," to the Protestant employers of Ire- 
land. It is headed with the words, " Assassination — Self 
Preservation/' and seems to have been chiefly meant to work 
upon the nervous fears of ladies, inasmuch as it commences, 
"Dear Madam." I copy the first and last paragraphs of this 
most characteristic document : 

"The assassinations that are taking, and have taken place, 
almost daily, in our unhappy, but, alas ! notorious country, 
prove beyond a shadow of doubt that it is neither safe nor 
prudent for landlords to employ Roman Catholics as domestic 
or farm- servants, or to locate them on their lands as small 
farmers or stewards. To illustrate this statement by numerous 
examples would be to waste your time, and trifle with the most 
serious evil of the age in which we live." 

The Address goes on to urge, as the best means of self-pre- 
servation from Popish assassins, the employment of "Protes- 
tants only who are in favour of British connexion." Roman 
Catholics, indeed, may be employed; but only "in stations 
unaccompanied by risk and personal danger." They are to 
be shown a holy and edifying example, and to be taught to 
live "in the constant practice of godliness, industry, and every 
Christian virtue." Having thus exhorted the Protestant em- 
ployers to keep their dangerous neighbours at a prudent dis- 
tance, the Address concludes as follows: "This method of 
self-preservation would, we are convinced, be found a golden 
rule — a royal road to domestic safety, security, and protection, 
for Protestants individually and collectively. It would check 
the assassination and decimation of our gentry ; and it would 
reflect its blessings on those who are not of our communion. 
It would elevate our class, edify the church, receive the ap- 
proval of the Most High, and attract the attention and imita- 
tion of the civilised and uncivilised inhabitants of Great Bri- 
tain, of Europe, and of the World. — Your very humble Servant 
in Christ Jesus, « The Secretary, 

u July ig 3 » " Employment and Aid Society for Protestants. 

This address was intended for private circulation ; but a copy 

population of this island were, in the month of July last, entirely without 
food — preferred patiently to endure their sufferings rather than submit 
to what they considered a degradation. Such fortitude we do believe to 
be without parallel in the history of any 4 ignorant and unenlightened' 
people since the creation of the world." 



100 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



of it accidentally reached the hands of Mr. A. M. Sullivan, 
the ahle and patriotic editor of the Nation, in which journal 
that gentleman published it on the 15th of August, 1863. 

One mode of keeping up the sectarian excitement was by 
displaying anti-Catholic placards in the streets. This was for 
a long period constantly and offensively done. An English 
gentleman, one of the most illustrious of the Oxford converts, 
wrote to me from Dublin that if the Catholics were to retaliate 
with anti-Protestant placards, a state of things would be pro- 
duced which would probably compel the government to put a 
stop, to that species of warfare. There were controversial 
handbills profusely scattered over the country — thrown 
upon the highways, flung into the fields, and pasted upon 
walls. The piers of my entrance-gate were thus decorated. 
Whether any of the handbills displayed talent, I am unable to 
say. The attempts at argument in those which I saw were 
the veriest sweepings of controversial rubbish. But they 
attacked " Popery," helped to exasperate the Catholics, and 
gave an appearance of activity in return for the large sums of 
money with which the managers of the affair were subsidised 
by credulous English fanatics. 

Let me here observe, that, great as has been the evil result- 
ing from religious bigotry, yet the presence of two hostile 
creeds within the land has not been totally without its good. 
I have heretofore spoken of the Protestant church with refer- 
ence exclusively to its temporal establishment. I now speak 
of it as a religious system ; and, as such, it has derived some 
moral advantage from the presence of antagonist Catholicity. 
The advantage has been mutual. Two rival churches will 
watch and purify each other. Not that this is any justification 
of religious differencas ; not that such differences are necessary 
lo preserve religion pure; but simply that where they happen 
to exist, God can educe good from the evil of disunion. 

Contrast the morals of the Protestants of the present 
day with those of their fathers in the heyday of the penal 
laws, when Catholics were too insignificant to be their rivals — 
when Protestantism had everything its own way. Then 
were the golden days of duelling, of drunkenness, of pro- 
fligate clubs in the metropolis — the Cherokee, the Hell tire, 
the Pinkers and Sweaters, whose orgies are still preserved in 
the local traditions of Dublin. Then were the da\sof galLmt 
jovial, hard-drinking parsons — men who were paid by the 
state for talking every Sunday about religion, and who, ac- 
cordingly pronounced some cold and formnl sentences to small 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



101 



congregations, who, on their parts, conceived that they per- 
formed a meritorious duty in listening with grave faces to the 
solemn homilies. Catholicity, however, uprose in renovated 
strength, shook off its penal bandages, and assumed the atti- 
tude of spiritual rivalry. The State Church was alarmed. If 
the Protestant clergy and their flocks became more bigoted, 
they certainly became more virtuous. The majority of the 
parsons of our day are moral and pious. Apart from the 
drawbacks of anti-Irish prejudice and anti-Catholic slander (in 
which latter not one-twentieth part of them actively partici- 
pate), they are in general personally virtuous and exemplary. 

Would to God that Irishmen of all creeds could recognise 
and rejoice in each other's good qualities; that they could 
turn the rivalship of antagonist creeds to its legitimate ac- 
count — the promotion of religion and morality; discard all 
unchristian acerbity, and unite with cordial, mutual trustful- 
ness in the national cause ! 



CHAPTER IX. 

'Tis only to gather 

Our strength and be ready, 
The son with the father, 

The wild with the steady — 
In front of the danger, 

To tramp all together 
Defying the stranger, 

In hail or in heather.— J. De Jean. 

The continued existence of the Union for thirty years had a 
powerful effect in benumbing nationality amongst those whose re- 
ligious teachers inspired them with a suspicion of their country- 
men. They had become accustomed to be legislated for by 
England, and use had rendered them insensible to the de- 
gradation which had roused up, in 1800, the Irish spirit of the 
very Orangemen. The Union had debased and degraded many 
of the generation who had grown up since its enactment. They 
sneered at the Repealers as visionaries, and — prejudging the 
whole matter in dispute — they flippantly asserted that there 
was nothing Ireland could gain from native legislation that 
she could not also obtain from the imperial parliament. 

The Reform agitation of 1831 necessarily excited the Eng- 
lish mind to a pitch of intensity. The Irish were busy with 
their own agitation ; and when Reform had been carried, and 
some enlargement of the constituencies temporarily etfected, 
the Repealers mustered their strength to send members to St. 
Stephen's who should represent their principles. 

Many Irish agitators, elate with the prospect of parliamentary 



102 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



distinction, were speedily in the field. Ere the senatorial 
vision had crossed their aspiring thoughts , some three or four 
had acquired more than ordinary notoriety by their agitation. 

Of these, one of the most conspicuous was Feargus O'Connor. 
Feargus was fourth son of Roger O'Connor, who, in 1798, re- 
sided at Connorville near Dunmanway in the county of Cork. 
Roger O'Connor was involved in the rebellion of which his 
brother Arthur was one of the principal leaders. Arthur 
wished to make Ireland a republic on the French model of 
1792. He was a thoroughly honest politician. Of his dis- 
interestedness there is conclusive proof in the fact that he de- 
liberately forfeited the splendid inheritance of his maternal 
uncle, Lord Longueville, who was childless, and who would 
have made him his heir on condition of his adopting his 
lordship's politics. Roger's views were monarchical ; I believe 
he intended to exercise the sovereign authority himself. 

Roger employed his military skill in fortifying Connor- 
ville to sustain an attack from the king's troops. He planned 
a trap for them also, of which I had a detailed description 
from a gentleman who was personally cognizant of the device. 

There were two fronts to Connorville house. From the front 
that faced the public road the halldoor steps were removed ; 
and the windows of the basement storey on that side of the 
house were strongly built up. No hostile entry could have 
been effected upon that front. 

The other front opened on a large courtyard, nearly sur- 
rounded with high buildings. From the eastern side of this 
courtyard ran a broad, straight avenue, some hundreds of 
yards in length, between two very lofty walls overgrown with 
ivy of extraordinary luxuriance. At the extremity of this 
avenue farthest from the house was a high and massive iron 
gate. The whole length of the avenue was commanded by 
cannon which were placed in a shed in the courtyard, and 
managed by French artillerymen. The massive gate at the 
eastern end of the avenue was left constantly open, to invite 
the entrance of his majesty's troops in the event of a hostile 
descent upon Connorville. There were men always stationed 
perdu in the huge ivy bushes at the top of the piers, to lock 
the gates the instant the military force should have passed 
through. The soldiers would thus be caught in a complete 
trap ; hemmed in by the lofty walls that flanked the avenue, 
their retreat cut off by the iron gate behind them, and their 
position fully raked in front by the cannon in the courtyard.* 

* I have allowed this account of Roger O'Connor's preparations to re- 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



103 



The scheme seemed feasible enough, but it never was real- 
ised. The soldiers came to Connorville — they entered the 
avenue and courtyard ; but whether the artillerymen had de- 
serted their post, or whether Roger had not completed his 
intended preparations, certain it is that the redcoats scoured 
the premises without molestation, and Roger surveyed them 
from the friendly shade of a holly tree in which he was en- 
sconced, on a rocky eminence that overlooked the courtyard 
from the north. He escaped on that occasion ; his capture 
did not occur for some months after. 

His subsequent imprisonment at Fort George in Scotland 
is well known. I possess, in his manuscript, a poetical " In- 
vocation to Sleep," which he composed during his incarcera- 
tion. It is manifestly an unfinished production ; a few lines 
may serve as a sample of its merits : 

" Far from my native land, far from my wife 
And all my little babes, on Moray Firth 
Incag'd and barr'd with double bolts I drag 
My heavy days and lengthened nights of pain. 
On Sleep, that dull and partial god, I call 
In vain ! unheard or slighted are my plaints. 
The constant tramp of feet and watchful cry 
Of 'Who comes there V the sentry's hollow cough, 
Contracted from the midnight cold and damp, 
Assail my ear, still conscious of the sound. 
The bell's loud voice, which speaks old Time's decay, 
Is so familiar grown, I still conceit 
That I can tell his numbers by his note. 
Oh ! for a cup of Lethe's pool to steep 
My weary senses in forgetfulness !" 

When Roger was released from Fort George, he was per- 
mitted to reside in England, but not for some time to return 
to Ireland. When at last this restriction was withdrawn, he 
returned to Ireland and purchased the magnificent mansion 
and domain of Dangan Castle in the county of Meath, the 
birth-place of the Duke of Wellington f and the family-seat 
of the Wellesleys. The purchase-money was to remain for 

main unaltered from the first edition of this work. It was given me by 
my father. A lady, who professes to recollect Connorville at the period, 
has, I am told, asserted that the preparations were not actually made. It 
is therefore proper to say that my father may possibly have described to 
me a plan which Roger only devised, but did not bring to the point of 
preparation. But my impression of the communication I received is such 
as I have given in the text. 

f This was popularly believed. But it is said on plausible authority 
that the Duke was born in the family mansion in Dublin, Mornington 
House in Upper Merrion-street, now occupied by the Ecclesiastical Com- 
missioners. 



104 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



some time in his hands bearing interest. The following brief 
notice of Dangan occurs in Arthur Young's " Tour in Ire- 
land, " under date 28th June, 1776 : " Went in the evening 
to Lord Mornington's at Dangan, who is making many im- 
provements which he showed me. His plantations are exten- 
sive, and he has formed a large water having five or six 
islands much varied ; and promontories of high land shoot so 
far into it as to form almost distant lakes ; the effect pleasing. 
There are above 100 acres under water, and his lordship has 
planned a considerable addition to it." 

The extensive plantations had grown up into lofty woods 
before Roger became their proprietor. His declared object in 
becoming the occupant of Dangan was, that he might possess 
a house fit for the reception of Bonaparte, as he professed a 
firm faith in the advent of the Emperor to Ireland. Welling- 
ton, however, was less hospitable, and effectually prevented 
the visit of Napoleon to his hereditary residence. 

Feargus was born at Connorville in 1796. He resided a 
good deal with his father at Dangan until the mansion was 
consumed by a fire said to have been accidental. He had, how- 
ever, been sent to two or three schools, at which he distin- 
guished himself by a number of irregular pranks ; he also ran 
off from his family to England, and amused himself hay- 
making one summer in Wiltshire. Eoger was eccentric and 
imaginative. Feargus early acquired a taste for an adventu- 
rous life, and politics naturally had a place in his rumina- 
tions. In 1822 he resided, with other members of his family, 
at Fortrobert, a spacious house on a hill adjoining the domain 
of Connorville. There he lived a jolly life — enjoying the so- 
ciety afforded by the neighbourhood, to which his entertaining 
conversation rendered him a welcome acquisition ; playing 
whist ; riding to foxhounds ; outrivalling all his competitors 
in desperate horsemanship ; and giving occasional indications 
of the spirit within him by attacks on prominent local abuses. 
He published a pamphlet fiercely denouncing the oppressors 
of the peasantry — parsons, tithe-proctors, grinding middle- 
men, jobbing grand-jurors — with especial censure of all magis- 
trates trafficking in justice. 

As yet Feargus had not tried his rhetorical powers in pub- 
lic. But the exciting political transactions of 1831 and 1832 
necessarily called forth so active and ardent a spirit. He first 
appeared at a Whig meeting held in Cork in December, 1831, 
for the purpose of forwarding Reform. Messieurs Jephson of 
Mallow ; N. P. Leader, then member for Kilkenny ; Delacour, 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



105 



a banker ; Stawell of Kilbrittain ; Baldwin of Cork ; with some 
youthful scions of the Shannon and Kingston families, and 
several other Whig notables of the county, were mustered in 
the old court-house on the Grand Parade at an early hour. 
They all rehearsed the usual commonplaces of Reform ; talked 
in a tone of aristocratic condescension about the claims of the 
democracy ; announced that in order to establish a right to 
full citizenship it was not requisite that men should exhibit 
rentrolls and pedigrees ; with a great many equally respectable 
political truisms. Up to four o'clock the most amusing speaker 
was Leader, the member for Kilkenny. He was a stout, thick- 
set man, with a wild ferocious eye ; he shouted and bellowed, 
gesticulated like a harlequin, slapped his thighs, spun nearly 
round on tiptoe, emphasised remarkable hits by bobbing down 
his head within a couple a feet of the floor, roared, stamped, 
ranted, blustered, and, perforce of a thundering expenditure of 
personal energy, elicited vociferous applause. 

Late in the day Feargus came forward to the front, of one 
of the galleries ; distanced all the Whigs and Reformers by 
exclaiming that Repeal alone could save L*eland from ruin ; 
and certainly so far as concerned the external matters of voice, 
action, and delivery, he made beyond comparison the best 
speech of the day. 

Feargus now set himself to work in earnest to attain poli- 
tical leadership. He had not yet contemplated an attack on 
the representation of the county, for he had not yet seen to what 
extent the Reform bill would popularise the constituency ; but 
he dearly loved the greeting cheers of the multitude ; he re- 
velled in the consciousness of possessing unusual volubility, and 
he had a strong conviction that his popular talents would soon 
exalt him into a position of political command. 

In the summer of 1832, the anti-tithe agitation extended 
itself all over the county of Cork. Feargus was ubiquitous. 
Macroom, Dunmanway, Enniskean, and several other places 
were visited in rapid succession. "Fargus," as the country 
folk familiarly termed him, soon ingratiated himself into every 
one's favour ; and by the frankness and ease of his address, 
and his great colloquial powers, disarmed the suspicious en- 
mity of many in the middle ranks, who had previously ana- 
thematised both himself and his cause. 

He soon received the distinction of two or three public 
entertainments. At Macroom he got a dinner from about 
three hundred farmers and shopkeepers, at which he, for the 
first time, publicly announced himself a candidate for the re- 



106 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



presentation. He declared, in accents of affecting pathos, 
that his advocacy of the people's rights had weaned from him 
the affections of his nearest relatives. 

" Since I last," said he, " met my friends of Macroom, there 
has heen no smile on my cheek, no comfort in my breast. My 
nearest relations have turned from me ; it is true they recog- 
nize me privately, but in public they have wounded my feel- 
ings. I leave them to that awful moment when the sacred 
Monitor shall arouse them to reflection — when he shall tap 
here" (pointing to his breast), " and cry, Awake ! Be judged !" 

It behoved the people, upon whose behalf the sufferings in 
question were incurred, to apply the salve to the patriotic 
victim. It especially behoved the tradesmen of Macroom to 
indemnify him for his sorrows, inasmuch as he claimed the 
honour of membership with their fraternity in virtue of his 
having taken part in a meeting held in the large square of 
that town, in the month of June previously. 

The electors in the popular interest had been urged by the 
Catholic clergy to register their votes, and the shrewd ones 
began with confidence to augur a very large liberal majority 
at the next general election. At the Macroom dinner, as we 
learn from the Cork Southern Reporter of that date, " the sub- 
ject of the representation was freely discussed. Mr. O'Connor 
announced his intention of becoming a candidate for the county 
of Cork at the approaching election. He was received with 
great enthusiasm, and all present confirmed his pretensions by 
the highest eulogy of his claims and character. A general 
pledge was made by the company of their support and influence. 
At the suggestion of the chairman, a resolution was entered 
into for the formation of an Independent Club to organize the 
representative franchise in the county, the better to secure the 
return of Mr. O'Connor in conjunction with any other popular 
candidate who should present himself. The conditions laid 
down for the future candidates were a full support of the Re- 
peal of the Union, total abolition of tithes, vote by ballot, 
and universal suffrage." 

It was late at night when Feargus rose to announce his re- 
solution to become a candidate for the county. The candles 
had nearly burned down to their sockets, and threw a dim and 
doubtful gleam upon the large apartment. A very prosy, 
windy speaker had occupied a great deal of time in delivering 
a speech which I cannot better describe than by saying that 
in matter and structure it resembled an interminable leading- 
article in a tenth-rate country newspaper. Listeners got tired — 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



107 



Feargus was especially impatient ; yet the orator not only 
prosed on, but seemed to regard his newly-found capacity 
for public speaking as a subject of particular congratulation. 
" This," he exclaimed, " is the first time I ever made a speech, 
and I never thought I could have talked so long without stop- 
ping — it appears to me that I'm inspired !" and he continued 
to give the audience the benefit of his inspiration either until 
he had exhausted the afflatus, or until the chairman checked 
his utterances on the plea that the hour was now far advanced. 
The crowd had drawn close to the small dais, or platform, on 
which were assembled the chairman, the guest, and two or 
three other country gentlemen. There was great exultation 
at the hope of seeing the popular favourite returned to parlia- 
ment. When Feargus announced that he would stand for the 
county, a rapturous hurrah ! testified the general delight. 
The candidate resumed his seat, much pleased at the sym- 
pathy of his friends ; when a movement was discerned among 
the throng, as of some stalwart fellow elbowing his way to the 
front. Feargus rose, and recognised the person who was 
forcing himself forward; he was a broad-shouldered, red- 
haired, athletic Protestant farmer named Whiting, who bore 
a strong personal resemblance to the burly candidate himself. 

"Make room for Mr. Whiting," said Feargus in his bland- 
est accents. Room was immediately made for his passage. 
" How are you, my worthy friend?" continued Feargus, 
courteously shaking hands with Whiting. " Would you wish 
to get on the platform ? We've plenty of room for you." 

Whiting accepted the invitation and was given a chair, on 
which he seated himself. He gazed for some moments at 
Feargus in mute ecstasy, and then broke forth, " Fargus ! 
Fargus ! is it not the murdher of the world to see you looking 
after the representation of a county in their English parlia- 
ment, instead of enjoying (as by right you ought) the royal 
crown of Ireland upon that honest red head, as was worn by 
your ancesthors in the ancient times of ould!" 

Feargus, however, limited his ambition to a seat for the 
county despite this stimulating burst of post-prandial enthu- 
siasm. He smiled assuasively in return for Mr. Whiting's 
complimentary allusion to his ancestral honours. The scene 
was amusing, and its effect was heightened by the personal 
resemblance of the sturdy yeoman and the patriotic orator, 
who exchanged the most affectionate glances with each other. 

Feargus lashed all jobbers, particularly jobbing magistrates 
who made a profitable traffic of their justiceship : " they ate 



108 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



justice, drank justice, lay upon justice, rode justice, wore jus- 
tice — aye, threadbare !" 

He complimented the tradesmen of Macroom, by whom he 
was surrounded: 11 Tradesmen we are all, in fact, from the 
monarch who tills the throne, and whoso trade is that of cabiuet- 
jilting, to the humble chimney-sweeper who loudly proclaims 
his calling from the house-tops. I am a tradesman of Ma- 
croom. I was bound npprentiee in the great square on the 
10ft fane Im4 " (alluding to the anti-tithe meeting held on 
t". * day) ; "and on my snowboard shall bo Peace, Industry, 
Union, and Freedom." 

At the Enniskean anti-tithe meeting, Foargns gallantly de- 
f.nl tin I>;.kif of Wellington. "I did boar that a military 
t'.-rn- was to have nttoinhd. It* I saw that force under the 
command of the Great Capt in of the nge, I would tell him 
w:m in bis dotage, an 1 that tho powt-r of knowledge was 
greater than the power of cannon." 



He defended bimsolf from calumnious imputation : H Hero 
I stand in the midst of thousands and tens of thousands to 
whom I have been known from my birth, and I fearlessly ask 
them if the breath of slander has hore ever dared to assail my 



. .' : r • N i . • an 1 oho. is). "I lave 1 over Op- 
i . . i t) ii., :m. *t in.iix ill mil among you?" ("No! no I 
BQnrah !*) 44 Haw I not over been your advisor and director " 
t •• V. - ! \ • ^ ! hnrrah ! "). 

Ho announced tho religions object of his agitation at a dill* 
ner given him in Enniskean: '* My obj ot is to pnrify the 
rrl.gion 1 profess by lopping oft its rotten and redundant tem- 
poralities' ai:<l ho tioiot lv iinjuin-d "wln tln r the roligion of 
tho Almighty was to be set in blood ' alluding to the fatal 
tithe-afl'rays. 

At a o.i. i.. r '!\. n in Col: to tho lato Hishop England, 
I • • . • •• • ; i. i a \. h< ..- iit spo. rh in thoso words : 44 No ! 

though our eeevbonnd dungeon were sneom passed by tho 
wooden walls of Old England — though the 800,000 promised 
Cossacks marched through the land with all tho omhloms of 
death, the rack, the scaffold v and the axe, yet I wonld snfier 
i i ' \ i o : . • . i np my hat ami cry ' All hail' to 

l. on* v i » i m\ r«.tintrv'H Ioh«'ra 4 or liko jt ooinnion felon 

oaptivi- thron h tin- htr. » ts of tho metropolis to answer a 
. nia0<- on:.. I \ | mm*! on ttion. No ! thoii'di stretched 
n ( . ii tit- r.u-k 1 \ < mo" -nolo torror out of countenance, and 
dit* as 1 have liTed— a pari lovff of liberty !" 

• Tho MsffsJi of IsfPessa, 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



109 



The critic in his closet who laughs at this fantastic bombast, 
will scarcely believe that when volubly thrown off, rotundo ore, 
and recommended by graceful and emphatic action, and an 
air of intense earnestness, it not only could pass for "fine 
speaking," but produce to some extent, upon a sympathetic 
audience, the effect of genuine eloquence. It seems to have 
found an admirer in the reporter for the Cork Mercantile 
Chronicle, whose comment ran thus : "This splendid effusion 
of masculine eloquence created a most extraordinary sensation, 
coming, as it did, like a thunderclap on all. The talented 
speaker was long and loudly cheered on resuming his seat ; 
and we will augur that it will be long before he is forgotten 
by the people of this city." 

Feargus had now established his fame through the county 
as " a fine speaker." In the city of Cork he was generally 
called " the Rattler." Those who have not heard him in public 
in his best days, and who have only judged of his abilities 
from his printed effusions, have frequently done great injus- 
tice to his powers. He was remarkably ready and self-pos- 
sessed. He was capable of producing extraordinary popular 
effect. He had very great declamatory talent. He had also 
great defects. As a stimulating orator in a popular assembly 
he was unexcelled. It is true he dealt largely in bombast, 
broken metaphor, and inflated language ; but while you listened, 
these blemishes were lost in the infectious vehemence of his 
spirited manner ; you were charmed with the melodious voice, 
the musical cadences, the astonishing volubility, the imposing 
self-confidence of the man, and the gallant air of bold defiance 
with which he assailed all oppression and tyranny. The 
difference between his spoken and printed harangues was sur- 
prisingly great. 

He mingled the exciting qualities I have enumerated with 
a very small amount of argumentative power. He blended 
the facility of at first acquiring popular influence with a sad 
incapacity to retain it. He displayed an exhaustless fund of 
vituperative vigour in lashing all the parties disliked by the 
people ; but he was sometimes betrayed, by want of reflection, 
into receiving and announcing as truths the most incredible 
exaggerations. For instance, he proclaimed to a numerous 
meeting in Bandon that certain portions of the parish of Timo- 
league paid tithe at the rate of ninety pounds per acre ; and 
that the fact of that extravagant tithe-charge had been con- 
firmed upon oath before two magistrates. 

During the agitating summer and autumn of 1832, scenes 



110 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



of a highly exciting and picturesque character were constantly 
exhibited. The meetings for Kepeal and No Tithes were usu- 
ally held on Sundays after Mass. It was impossible to see 
without interest the rustic worshippers wending along the glen 
and down the hill-side, sauntering through " the lone vale of 
green bracken" beneath the brilliant morning sunshine; 
crowding to the Catholic church at the call of the bell ; strag- 
glers from the outskirts of the parish endeavouring to recover 
lost time by short-cuts and increased speed, as they sprang 
with agility over the ditches. Then there was the muster of 
the hardy peasants in the churchyard ; the more thoughtless 
occupying the interval before mass in inquiring the news of 
the day ; the more devout kneeling apart before the altar rails, 
or under the rude pictures called the Stations of the Cross ; 
or in some shaded spot without the sacred edifice, where, un- 
molested, they might recite a litany or rosary beneath the 
shadow of an old hawthorn. Then came the last quick toll 
of the bell, announcing that divine service was just going to 
commence ; then the hurried gathering into the church of a 
crowd that often overflowed its precincts ; the Mass ; the 
homely discourse in Irish; and after the " Ite, missa est," 
an announcement of the meeting of the day. 

The meeting frequently comprised the inhabitants of many 
parishes. The dark multitudes streamed from the hills to 
the common centre — many on horseback, but the greater 
number on foot. There was a proud thrill in every man's 
breast ; all felt the exalting consciousness that a nation were 
peacefully mustering and banding together to assert and re- 
cover their rights. The Irish peasantry are not mere clod- 
poles* Many of them are imaginative and intellectual. They 
love their native land, and they are proud of it. They are 
susceptible of every external influence that can heighten the 
sentiment of patriotism ; and as the multitudes traversed the 
grand scenery of the parishes on the sea-coast, doubtless many 
a foot was arrested on the heights which commanded a view 
of the bold mountain peaks, the magnificent expanse of ocean, 
the steep cliffs, and the rich green glens often winding from 
the shore among the hills ; and many a heart felt to its centre 
that the freedom of such a glorious land was worth any 
struggle men could make — any peril that men could encounter. 

The meeting usually mustered in full strength at the ap- 
pointed place about three o'clock in the afternoon. The 
chairman was often a Protestant, whose hatred of tithes was 
not less intense than that felt by the Catholic concourse around 



IRELAND AND IIER AGITATORS. 



Ill 



him. I only knew of one Protestant chairman who was said 
to occupy his post with reluctance. He was a landlord of 
some hundreds a year. He was deemed a prize by his anti- 
titheist neighbours, who made many attempts to secure him 
for their chairman, which he always coquettishly evaded, until 
it was delicately hinted that in the event of his persisting 
in refusal, the requisitionists would develop to the board of 
excise certain smuggling transactions in which he was engaged. 

The hint was sufficient. Mr. consented to preside ; and he 

delivered a philippic against the church temporalities, of which 
the poignant bitterness amply redeemed his previous apathy. 

Feargus was quite in his element at all these public meet- 
ings. The first of them which he attended was, I think, a 
very large gathering, held near Dunmanway, on the 29th June, 
1832, at which my brother, Thomas Wilson Daunt, presided. 
Feargus delivered himself with a fervour and a voluble energy 
which called down tumultuous cheers, and found so much fa- 
vour with some of his hearers that they declared he was " finer 
than O'Connell." He hated the Union with cordial bitter- 
ness ; he hated the tithes with equal intensity ; and he had 
stories of ecclesiastical mismanagement at his fingers' ends 
much better authenticated than the legend of the ninety pounds 
per acre. He spoke of the parish in which his own residence, 
Fortrobert, was situated; told how the rector, Mr. Hamilton, 
had never set his foot within the parish for thirty- five years ; 
exposed the vestry that had enlarged the clerk's salary because 
the clerk went to live at a distance from the parish, and re- 
quired additional payment to remunerate him for the addi- 
tional road to be travelled on Sundays to his church ; and 
finally the orator denounced the jolly sexton who kept a house 
of ill-fame near the church gate. 

Mr. Hamilton, the rector, resided in a remote part of the 
kingdom, and never visited the parish. I know nothing of his 
personal character or his professional accomplishments, and 
am therefore unable to say whether his small Protestant flock 
were losers by his absence. Non-residence has often been 
stigmatised as a grievance. Certainly it withdraws the ex- 
penditure of the incumbent's income from the parish. But 
there have been, and still are, cases in which the incumbent, 
when inflamed with furious anti-Catholic bigotry, is so great a 
public nuisance, that his absence would be a blessing ; and 
it would, in such cases, be often worth the Catholics' while to 
subscribe some increase to his revenue on condition of his 
living elsewhere. 



112 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



The people were enchanted with Feargus's scathing expo- 
sures of clerical, magisterial, and legislative iniquity ; and 
" Fargus" was unanimously pronounced to be " the devil of a 
fellow." His manners were excessively conciliating ; in pri- 
vate they were courteous and refined ; in public they were 
hearty, rattling, and impulsive. He had frolicsome touches 
of mimicry, nickname, and claptrap ; he now and then let off 
a telling pun. His courteous demeanour alternated with a cer- 
tain indescribable swagger, which, however, was not in the 
least degree offensive, and merely indicated the excellent 
opinion which he entertained of himself, without disparage- 
ment to any one else. He was a capital raconteur. His 
talents as a mimic were considerable. His was not that mere 
parrot mimicry that imitates sounds only ; he was a mimic of 
sentiment and feeling ; he could take up the wnole train of 
thought as well as the voice, and present you with a faithful 
and exquisitely ludicrous resemblance of mental as well as 
vocal characteristics. He also excelled in repartee. He had 
strong satirical powers, a formidable readiness in retort, and 
could pounce with caustic and merciless sarcasm on the weak 
or ludicrous points of an antagonist ; so that whenever any 
incivility was attempted at his expense, he retaliated with a 
pungency that made his opponent repent the rash assault. 
But Feargus, when not attacked, was remarkable for suavity 
and excellent temper. 

He was fond of puns, and sometimes made them tell. At 
a meeting which he attended, after having been for some time 
absent from the country, it chanced that there stood at his 
right hand, a patriotic paper-maker named Kidney. Feargus 
assured his audience that his absence from home had not 
altered his politics : " Here I am," cried he, " unchanged — 
the same pure lover of liberty you have ever known me, with 
the same honest heart, and the same stout Kidney too !" 
patting his worthy and stalwart neighbour on the shoulder, 
limidst shouts of laughter. 

Feargus's strongest point was his great physical energy. He 
was indefatigable in his agitation. In all the quarters of the 
compass, wherever a popular muster of sufficient magnitude 
was announced, there was usually to be seen the popular agi- 
tator with the brawny muscular figure, the big round shoulders, 
the red curly tresses overhanging the collar of his coat, the 
cajoling smirk, the insinuating manners, and the fluent tongue. 
His taste in eloquence was not rigorous ; his language 
might, to borrow a Homeric phrase, be termed " poluphlois- 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



113 



boios." He was fond of sounding and redundant sentences. 
He often declared, for example, that the people were * 4 wrecked 
by disunion, torn by discord, revolutionised by faction. ,T 
This description of talk rolled off his tongue in continuous 
torrents. 

He considered it politic to assume towards the Catholic 
clergy an air of profound and affectionate reverence. He 
boasted that he had a larger number of clerical acquaintances, 
than any other layman in Ireland. He talked of convening 
an assembly of the Catholic clergy of the county Cork, at 
which he was to preside. Feargus's concio ad clerum would 
have been a curious deliverance. 

The Whig and Tory squirearchy laughed to derision his 
prospects of success. They sneered at the rustic meetings, 
the public dinners got up among the village shopkeepers and 
farmers. " He had a genteel day of it !" writes one of them, 
who was scandalised at the overwhelming preponderance of 
the frieze coats at a public entertainment given to Feargus. 
Meanwhile, Feargus persevered with continually increasing 
activity ; some of the advertisements of his movements were 
headed with the appropriate words in huge types, " Up and 
doing !" 

Whatever were the merits or defects of his public speaking, 
his manner and delivery were those of a gentleman. A clever 
writer remarks that in the earlier period of his agitation he 
addressed the people more in the style of a chieftain encou- 
raging his gallant clansmen, than of a commonplace agitator 
talking down to the level of an unenlightened auditory. The 
people appreciated his aristocratic demeanour ; for the Irish 
democracy — (and this is a trait in the national character well 
worth the attention of politicians) — are eminently aristo- 
cratic in their prepossessions. They love ancient lineage ; 
they can quickly discern, and they ardently relish the demean- 
our that should mark the far-descended gentleman. Those 
who fear that the Repeal of the Union would result in demo- 
cratic anarchy, evince by that fear their total ignorance of 
the feelings, dispositions, and prejudices of the Irish nation. 
There is not in the empire a people more desirous to give 
practical efficacy to the theory of the British constitution. 
The theoretic equipoise of Crown, Lords, and Commons 
their principles would carry into practice. Loving the liberty 
of Ireland as their dearest earthly birthright, they rejoice 
when they are led in the pursuit of it by men of high station 
and old lineage. Loyal to the crown (but not to the Legis- 



114 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



lative Union), they honour the coronet — these Irish worship- 
pers of freedom. They merely desire to convert the aristo- 
cracy from oppressors into protectors. 



CHAPTER X. 

" My inmost heart is in your cause. I pray 
God speed your quarrel. Yet my hands are bound; 
There is a golden fetter that restrains 
The energies that should, of right, he yours." 

Anon. 

Repeal was now a topic of universal interest. The Rev. 
Charles Boyton, a Fellow of Trinity College, made several 
speeches at the Dublin Conservative Society, strongly impreg- 
nated with Irish nationality. In one of those speeches he 
ably dissected and exposed the fallacies, which even then Mr. 
Spring Rice had begun to put forth, about the incalculable 
benefits produced to Ireland by the Union. Mr. Rice had 
been triumphant in the English House of Commons — that is 
to say, he had the votes, the majorities, the cheers, which in 
general await in that assembly the exploits of an Irishman 
who does the dirty work of England. It was easy to prove 
to the perfect satisfaction of an English audience that the 
subjugation of Ireland to England was an overflowing source 
of prosperity to the former country. His miles of figures, 
his tables of statistics, his carefully contrived arithmetical 
legerdemain, made an imposing show in an assembly whose 
members cared nothing for the merits of the case, and cared 
everything for the preservation of their own grasp on Irish 
resources. 

But Mr. Rice's statistical jugglery did not prove so con- 
vincing to the Irish people. He did not find it so easy to 
persuade them that their starving population were comfortably 
fed; that their unemployed, half-naked tradesmen were warmly 
clothed ; that the manufactories crumbling into ruins in many 
parts of the country were hives of happy, thriving industry ; 
that the 14 3 000 silk-w 7 eavers just then stalking unemployed 
through Dublin were models of prosperity and comfort ; that 
the crowded metropolitan mendicity demonstrated the brisk 
state of trade ; that the insolvency of one-fourth of the num- 
ber of houses in Dublin indicated the increasing opulence of 
the metropolis ; that the Dublin people were greatly enriched 
by the removal to London of all the public boards ; and that 
the drain of four millions per annum of absentee rents out of 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



115 



Ireland, and the further drain of Irish surplus taxes, were a 
source of remunerative employment and national wealth to the 
Irish people. 

All these brilliant paradoxes might easily be received as 
gospel-truths by a body of Englishmen interested only in 
keeping down Ireland, and wringing all the profit they could 
from her poverty. But the suffering people themselves felt 
the poignant addition of insult to injury when they saw the 
great cause of their sorrows held forth to the world as the 
fountain of blessings to their country. 

Boyton, despite his Conservatism, felt as an aggrieved 
Irishman would naturally feel ; and in a speech which dis- 
played full knowledge of the subject, he refuted with con- 
temptuous sarcasm the fallacies of Mr. Rice. Boyton's mind 
and body were alike of athletic powers and proportions. He 
had the reputation of being an able pugilist ; and no doubt in 
his reasoning there was many a knock-down blow. The man 
was in spirit, feeling, and conviction an Irish nationalist, 
but he was bound up in the golden chains of the State 
Church ; his national vigour was therefore necessarily para- 
lysed. 

A gentleman on terms of intimacy with the leading mem- 
bers of the Repeal movement made (I believe at the instance 
of Mr. O'Connell) private overtures to Boyton for a junction 
between his party and the Repealers. Boyton's reply was in 
substance, and nearly in terms, as follows : " I would gladly 
acquiesce in your proposal, if I thought there existed the 
slightest probability of its being effectual. But, were I pub- 
licly to unite myself with the Repealers, I should only separate 
myself from my own party ; I could not possibly carry them 
along with me. Sir, they hate you — their enmity is bitter, 
and cannot be mitigated. I trust I need not say that I do not 
participate in it ; but I know that any overtures of mine to 
unite them with the O'Connellites would be perfectly fruitless, 
from the personal hatred they bear to your leader and their 
bigoted horror of the great body of his followers." 

The negotiation of course fell to the ground ; but Boyton 
now and then continued to make speeches savouring strongly of 
Repeal. One of his best was on the celebrated interview which 
took place in Cork between the Viceroy* and Dr. Baldwin, a 
highly respected advocate of nationality. The Doctor beat 
the Viceroy hollow in the controversy ; and the Viceroy threat- 
ened to blockade the Irish ports with four English gun-brigs, 
* The Marquis of Anglesea. 



116 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



and to effect a total suspension of intercourse between England 
and Ireland. 

" A total suspension of intercourse!" exclaimed the Rev. 
Charles Boyton ; " and, supposing the intercourse was sus- 
pended, pray, which of the parties would be the worse for it ? 
England, whose exports are articles which derive their value 
from the great manufacturing ingenuity exerted on materials 
of small intrinsic worth ; or Ireland, whose exports chiefly 
consist of articles of food — the staff of human life ? If the 
gallant Viceroy could suspend the intercourse between the 
countries, and prevent our exporting Irish beef, butter, and 
corn to England, why I really think that in so awful an ex- 
tremity we could manage to eat those commodities ourselves. 
Whereas it would task the powers of even John Bull to mas- 
ticate and digest a Sheffield whittle, a Worcester tea-cup, or a 
Kidderminster carpet." 

Meanwhile, Feargus undertook to enlighten the Viceroy 
upon Irish affairs in a " Letter, from Feargus O'Connor, Esq., 
Barrister-at-law, to his Excellency the Marquis of Anglesea." 
Feargus had been threatened with a prosecution for his political 
misdeeds ; and in the indictment were included James Lud- 
low Stawell of Kilbrittain,* Francis Bernard M'Carthy of 
Laurel Hill, with some others, who had made themselves con- 
spicuous by agitation. The principal subject of Feargus's 
Letter to Lord Anglesea was Feargus himself. He apprised 
the Viceroy that he (Feargus) was a barrister — a member of 
one of the most respectable families in the kingdom ; that he 
possessed an unincumbered property beyond his wants ; that 
when Lord Anglesea had been mobbed some time previously in 
Dublin, he (Feargus) followed him into Parliament-street and 
raised his arm in his Excellency's defence. 

He also boasted of an exploit he had performed in 1822; 

* I cannot thus cursorily mention James Ludlow Stawell without a 
passing tribute to his memory. He was a sincere Protestant; he was 
also a warm-hearted and enlightened Irishman. Descended from an 
ancient house, and possessed of an ample estate, he felt that he owed an 
account of his stewardship to the Providence who had bestowed on him 
the gifts of high birth and large fortune. He honestly and zealously 
laboured to render those advantages auxiliary to the freedom of his 
countrymen. He threw himself into their struggle. They revered and 
loved him. His useful and honourable career was cut short by sudden 
death. A feverish cold, of which the inflammatory symptoms were in- 
creased by the patient's anxiety about the prosecution, terminated fatally 
on the third or fourth day. He was deeply regretted by all parties. — 
Requiescat in pace. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



117 



the incident exemplifies the necessity of caution in accepting 
the assertions of habitual accusers of the Irish people. 

The parsons," said Feargus, " were then with the people, 
proclaiming that tithes had nothing to do with the disturbance, 
that its cause was to be found in exorbitant rents. I convened 
a meeting of the neighbouring parishes in the Roman Catholic 
Chapel of Enniskean, at which nine or ten Protestant clergy- 
men attended ; they were principally rectors. They all spoke 
of the perfect tranquillity their respective parishes enjoyed, 
and unanimously signed the resolutions which strongly ex- 
pressed that tranquillity, under the belief that they would not 
go farther. 

" I, however, had a duty to perform. I published them in 
two of our provincial journals ; and what will be your lord- 
ship's astonishment when I tell you that this publication was 
deemed by the clergy who attended the meeting a crime for 
which my head would scarcely have atoned ! Because the de- 
clarations made by some of those reverend gentlemen at the 
meeting were diametrically opposite to those made by the 
same persons with respect to the state of their parishes but a 
day or two previously." 

Feargus demanded from Lord Anglesea the publication of 
the informations on which he and his confederates had been 
charged as conspirators and dangerous persons. 

The prosecution was abandoned by the government. Stawell 
had died after a few days' illness ; and as his death was gene- 
rally believed to have been accelerated by the harassing annoy- 
ance of the threatened proceedings, it is not improbable that 
the government regarded it as a sufficient expiation of the 
political sins of the whole batch of offenders. But the fact of 
having been indicted was an additional feather in Feargus's 
cap. His having incurred the peril of martyrdom increased 
his popularity. 

The summer and autumn passed away. The registries 
had been well worked, and in the month of December the 
general election took place. The second popular candidate 
for the county Cork was Mr. Garret Stand ish Barry of Lem- 
lara, a Catholic gentleman of private worth, but not adapted 
for public business. He was brought in for the county under 
Feargus's wing, being in truth indebted for his success to the 
stirring agitation got up by his active and adventurous col- 
league. 

The electors from the rural districts now poured into the 
city. Parties of the freize-coats, each detachment headed by 



118 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



the parish priest, came in for four successive days, the voters 
from the more remote parts of the county having generally 
travelled at night. I accompanied one of the nocturnal parties 
from the district around D unman way. The night was cold, and 
the pace was slow. I occupied a seat in a gig belonging to 
the parish priest, who had called at my house' after midnight. 
Our slow progress was rendered still slower by delays at 
various points, where accessions of voters from other districts 
were expected to swell our cavalcade from bohereens and by- 
roads. My reverend companion seemed insensible to the dis- 
comforts of a journey performed at a snail's pace under the 
darkness of a chill winter's night. His mind was engrossed 
by the coming struggle, and elated by the prospect of a 
triumph. On the first day of the election the rival candidates 
met upon the hustings. Lord Bernard (son of the Earl of 
Band on), and the Hon. Robert Boyle (son of the Earl of 
Shannon), appeared on the Conservative side. The Hon. 
Robert King (afterwards Earl of Kingston) was a candidate in 
the Whig interest. Lord Bernard read a short speech from a 
paper which lay in the bottom of his hat, all about keeping up 
the tithes and the Union. Feargus made the audience laugh 
by remarking that if the noble lord had not spoken from his 
head, he had at any rate spoken from his hat. I do not re- 
collect that Mr. Boyle made a speech. He had published 
an address to the electors which promised nothing — a promise 
which there was no doubt of his ability to redeem. Mr. King 
said that if returned, he would vote for the discussion of Re- 
peal. Garrett Standish Barry said that if the reformed par- 
liament in its first session should not do justice to Ireland, he 
would vote for Repeal. He professed unqualified hostility to 
the tithes. Feargus made an eloquent declamatory speech for 
full, unqualified, unconditional, immediate Repeal. 

The election terminated on the fifth day in the return of 
Feargus and Mr. Barry. The announcement of the victory 
was answered by a hurricane of cheering in the court-house, 
which was echoed by the multitudes without. Out of the eight 
seats for the city, the county, and its boroughs, the Tories only 
obtained one, namely Bandon, for which the Hon. William 
Btrnard was returned. The Tories were infuriate at the suc- 
cess of their opponents. Speaking of Feargus's triumph, the 
well-known Hedges Eyre of Macroom swore deep oaths as he 
paced the Conservative club-room, that the county was lost, 
destroyed, disgraced for ever. 

Whatever may have been Feargus's subsequent career, we 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



119 



must do justice to his really gallant achievement of wresting 
the county Cork from the families who had monopolized the 
representation prior to 1832. The task required indefatigable 
energy, a thorough contempt of all difficulties, a faculty of 
rousing the despondent and nearly torpid population with fiery 
harangues, an undaunted audacity, and a superlative self-con- 
fidence. All these qualities Feargus enjoyed in perfection, 
and without them he never could have displaced the former 
parliamentary families. The people were fascinated, too, by 
the marked and respectful deference with which the Protestant 
agitator invariably treated the Catholic priesthood, to whom 
he never omitted an occasion of paying a well-turned compli- 
ment. He bragged loudly and constantly of his own aboriginal 
extraction ; adverted frequently to the losses his family had 
sustained in the people's cause ; and succeeded in producing a 
general conviction that the dashing, voluble, swaggering 
champion of the people's rights was the beau ideal of a popu- 
lar member of parliament. Feargus's services were on that 
occasion very great. The truth is that no other man in Cork- 
shire possessed the combination of qualities requisite to open 
the county at that period. 

It is usual with the Tory, and often also with the Whig 
landlords, to accuse the Catholic clergy of unduly influencing 
the tenant-farmers in their exercise of the franchise. The 
charge is retorted. Of the multitude of tenants expelled from 
their holdings it is commonly believed that a large number 
have been punished by eviction for voting at elections against 
the will of their landlords, and that the tenure of many who 
remain in their farms depends on their obedience to the land- 
lord's political commands. The accusers of the priests assume 
that if the tenant were uninfluenced by any party, and wholly 
left to his own free choice, he would by preference give his 
vote to the landlord's candidate. Those persons forget that 
the natural sympathies of the priest and of the Catholic tenant- 
farmer are the same, and consequently that when the priest 
exhorts the elector to support the advocate of tenant-right, of 
voluntaryism, or of Repeal, he only exhorts that elector to act 
upon his own principles, and to do that which his real inclina- 
tions would lead him to do. By investing the humble elector 
with a vote, the constitution plainly supposes him to have a 
political opinion. But those who assume that the landlord 
should be the master of that vote, suppose, on the contrary, 
that the humble elector has got no political opinion ; or else 
that, if he has one, he should sacrifice it to the dictation of 



120 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



another man. If this were the real spirit of the constitution 
it would save much trouble and much misery if the landlord, 
instead of driving his tenants to the hustings under terror of 
his wrath, were empowered by law to tender, in his own pro- 
per person, as many votes as he had tenants on the roll of 
electors. Such a personage might present himself at the 
hustings, and say, " I give you twenty votes, or forty" (as the 
case might be) " for Mr. So-and-so." The tenants could stay 
at home while the landlord did the voting for them, and thus 
escape the cruel alternative of being compelled to vote for 
some sturdy supporter of national wrongs, or of being exposed 
to the vengeance of, possibly, a spiteful and malignant tyrant. 

It would be grievously unjust to the landlords of Ireland to 
deny that there are amongst them many excellent men who 
respect the electoral liberty of their tenants. But landlords 
of the opposite stamp are unhappily plentiful. 

The Earl of Derby said in the House of Commons a good 
many years ago, that in England the rural tenants follow their 
landlords with implicit submission. They inquire for my 
lord's man, or the squire's man, and they vote as their mas- 
ters direct. In the towns venality is the dominant influence. 
In Ireland, however, notwithstanding the terrible and frequent 
exercise of landlord power, it is not so easy to drive electors 
like swine to the market. There is a much greater spirit of 
constitutional independence among the Irish electors than 
among their English brethren. They more frequently vote, 
in proportion to their numbers, in accordance with their poli- 
tical preferences. Year after year they see before their eyes 
the bitter penalty of being politically honest ; they see the 
old homesteads of their neighbours levelled to the earth, and 
the miserable inmates turned adrift ; they see that the crime of 
which this is the punishment, is the honest discharge of a trust 
committed to them by the constitution, and yet great numbers 
of them persevere. 

There is in this gallant defiance of local tj^ranny something 
grand and high-souled. It stamps the brave peasants with 
the ineffaceable character of political integrity. They are 
willing martyrs for their country's freedom. Men who can 
thus perseveringly and readily incur the bitterest persecution 
for the sake of principle, stand infinitely higher in the moral 
and intellectual scale, and are infinitely fitter for the duties of 
self-government, than a people who surrender the constitu- 
tional trust of the franchise at the dictation of another's will, 
or for the sordid and dishonest consideration of pelf. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



121 



Apart from bribery, and with reference solely to the landlord 
influence over electors in England, it must, however, be ad- 
mitted that the English voters have not the same reason for 
opposing their landlords that the Irish voters too often have. 
Whatever be the political party of the English candidate, the 
elector may be certain at the present day that he is zealous for 
the honour and power of England. Whig, Tory, or Radical, 
he will equally desire to uphold the glory of the British Lion. 

But in Ireland, the nationalist elector is frequently called on 
to vote for a candidate zealous only for the servitude and sub- 
jugation of his country; eager to revile and disparage her 
creed and her people ; flippant to announce (as Lord Wicklow 
did in the days of O'Connell's agitation) that there is not in 
Ireland the material for self-legislation. He is called on to 
vote for some person whose political convictions originate in 
the false, degrading, calumnious, self-stultifying principle that 
the land of Swift, and Grattan, and Malone, and Flood, and 
Hussey Burgh, and Burke, and Sheridan, and Bushe, and 
Foster, and Plunket, and O'Connell, and many other men 
whose names shed lustre upon human intellect, is inhabited by 
a race incapable of making laws to govern themselves. The 
soul of the Irish peasant instinctively spurns the impudent 
libel on his country. There cannot be a cordial community 
of feeling between the peasantry and the landlord class until 
the owners of the soil learn to regard their native land with sen- 
timents of just respect ; until they learn to rejoice in Ireland's 
honour ; to take pride in Ireland's fame ; and to feel every 
insult to their country as an indignity inflicted on themselves. 



CHAPTER XI. 

" Each voice should resound through our island, 
* You're my neighbour, hut, Bull, this is my land; 
Nature's favourite spot, 
And I'd rather be shot, 
Than surrender the rights of our Island.* " 

Lysaght's Anti-Union Song. 

O'Connell suggested, in December, 1832, to the members 
who were pledged to the Repeal of the Union, the expediency 
of meeting in Dublin to discuss various matters connected with 
Irish legislation. Between thirty and forty of them accord- 
ingly assembled in January, 1833, under the denomination of 
the National Council. The first meeting took place at Home's 
hotel, in College-green, directly facing the principal front of 
our old House of Commons. The proximity was suggestive of 

6 



122 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



some mournful recollections — associated, however, with high 
resolves and hopes. The forms of a legislative assembly were 
strictly observed by the National Council. The first day was 
chiefly occupied in the examination of Michael Staunton, the 
very able proprietor and editor of the Dublin Begister, on the 
grievous fiscal wrongs which the Union enabled England to 
inflict upon this kingdom. On the subsequent days the mem- 
bers met in the Great Room of the Corn Exchange, Burgh- 
quay ; there were a strangers' gallery and a bar, admission to 
which was charged the parliamentary price of two-and-six- 
pence. 0' Council's object in bringing together this embryo 
parliament was partly to present to the people of Ireland the 
spectacle of their own legislators deliberating on Irish affairs 
in the capital of their native land ; to habituate the members 
to home service ; and thereby to excite both the representa- 
tives and the represented to continuous energy in the great 
national enterprise. 

" The cork," said the Dublin Evening Post, "was flying 
out of Feargus's high-bottled eloquence and at the National 
Council, as also upon some other public occasions in the 
capital, Feargus well sustained the reputation he had acquired 
in the South of a ready, rattling speaker. 

In parliament he was not so successful. True, he talked 
away in the House with his customary fluency ; but he failed 
to impress the public with any strong faith in his senatorial 
wisdom. He amused the legislature with local anecdotes, 
sometimes extremely well told. He amused them also with 
occasional outbursts of exaggerated energy ; as, for example, 
when in the debate on the Coercion Bill some foolish English 
member had blustered about opposing the Repeal vi et armis, 
Feargus resolved to outbluster him, which he did somewhat 
after the following fashion : 

"The honourable gentleman," said the member for Cork 
county, " had declared that rather than consent to the Repeal 
of the Union, he would submit to be pistolled and bayoneted. 
But he (Mr. Feargus O'Connor) would reply, that rather than 
submit to the oppression of Ireland, he would readily encoun- 
ter swords, bayonets, guns, pistols, blunderbusses, muskets, 
and firearms of all sorts." 

But to do Feargus justice, he often uttered very good libe- 
ral principles, and he gave occasional expression to bold and 
spirited sentiments of liberty. He was deficient in logic. 
His speeches were what the French expressively term inconse- 
quent. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



123 



In 1833 be made an effort to force forward the discussion 
of Repeal prematurely in the House of Commons. O'Connell 
was desirous to keep back the question until the organisation 
of the Irish Repealers should have become more effective and 
general. There had been undoubtedly a great deal of popular 
noise and excitement ; but O'Connell did not deem that the 
people had yet been sufficiently organized to enable them to 
give to their representatives that steady and sustained support 
out of doors which was absolutely necessary to the success of 
the question in parliament. O'Connell, in this cautious policy, 
could appeal to the authority of the venerable Henry Grattan, 
who, when in 1810 announcing to the people of Dublin his 
readiness to advocate Repeal, at the same time explicitly 
stated that it would be neither prudent nor possible to bring 
Repeal into the House of Commons until the question should 
be backed by the whole Irish nation. Feargus, however, 
o\erlooked all such considerations, and announced to the Re- 
pealers that if O'Connell should decline to lead them, he would 
himself become their leader. 

Notwithstanding this intrepid announcement, he was for- 
tunately induced to withdraw the notice he had given upon 
the subject, which in truth he was very ill-qualified to discuss. 
He could declaim, indeed, about slavery and liberty, and give 
vehement utterance to popular feelings and sentiments ; he 
could accumulate instances of local suffering, and denounce 
usurpation in sentences of thundering sound ; but he knew 
nothing about the details of the financial swindle involved in 
the Union, nor could he reason with accuracy on its defects 
in a constitutional point of view. He, however, had succeeded 
in exciting the popular impatience for a parliamentary discus- 
sion ; so that O'Connell found it requisite to bring forward 
the question in the following session.* Feargus made a very 
long speech about Repeal in the debate ; the sentiments of 
course were good, but the logic was nil, and the orator did 
not touch the marrow of the subject. 

Parliament being dissolved in December, 1834, Feargus 
was again returned for the county of Cork. In his address to 
the electors he declared his intention of excluding for the 
future the new families (namely, the Shannons, Kingstons, 
and Bandons) from the representation ; and on the bus ings 
he told Lord Bernard that the best blood in his lordship's 
veins was derived frem " a Kerry strain," a connexion with 
the O'Connor family. 

* O'ConnelTs motion was made 22nd April, 1834. 



124 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Feargus's majority was on this occasion large, but not so 
overwhelming as it had been at the previous election. The 
landlord persecution had already begun to work upon the 
county franchise. A petition against his return was briskly 
undertaken. He was unseated in June, 1835 ; and Mr. Long- 
field of Longueville, near Mallow, slipped into the represen- 
tation. 

Feargus had evidently conceived the idea of supplanting 
O'Connell in the leadership of the Irish people ; and in further- 
ance of this project he now published a pamphlet containing 
numerous allegations of political dishonesty against the Libe- 
rator. The pamphlet sold well among the Conservative party ; 
but it necessarily alienated the Repealers of Ireland from its 
writer. 

Before long he formed a connexion with a political society 
in London, of whom the Rev. Dr. Wade, a Protestant 
clergyman, was a member. The principles of this society 
were those subsequently known as the five points of the 
charter, and its members assumed the designation of Char- 
tists. He soon established in Leeds the Northern Star, 
a weekly newspaper, which was designed to propagate the 
principles of the society. He had talked the chartist public 
into a belief that the new journal would work wonders ; and 
showers of five-pound notes rained down on the projector 
to enable him to establish it.* Before long it acquired an 
enormous circulation. I have heard of sixty thousand copies 
of a single publication being sold by the agent at Manchester ; 
and it is said that — railway conveyance being then far from 
general — the post-office authorities were in some cases obliged 
to hire carts or waggons for its transmission, as it occasionally 
overflowed the restricted accommodation of the mail-coaches. 
It is long since defunct. While it lasted, many of the traits 
of the proprietor were amusingly chronicled in its columns. 

One curious mode of extending his influence was by having 
the infant children of his followers christened by his name. 
A string of such baptisms was for a long time to be found in 
each successive Star — as, for example, " On Monday, the 8th 
instant, the wife of Ichabod Jenkins, nailer, was delivered of 
a fine thriving boy, who was christened Feargus O'Connor 
Ichabod and so on for the best part of a column. Girls 
were also often christened after Feargus. A whole population 
of Feargus O'Connors, male and female, seemed rapidly spring - 

* So I was told by a person who, at the time, was employed in the 
office. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



125 



ing up ; and the lists of these baptisms were usually headed 
with the words, " More Young Patriots." 

There was also a religious institution got up under the name 
of " The Chartist Christian Church ;" and I presume that the 
Mr. Cooper who combines, in the following extract, the cele- 
bration of Feargus's humility with the baptism of one of the 
young patriots, was a minister of that society : 

" We learn from the Leicester Mercury that Mr. Thomas 
Cooper, the leader of the O'Connorites in that borough, 
preached a sermon in the amphitheatre on Sunday week, from 
Daniel, ii. 34, 35. In the course of his address he said, 
1 The disciples of truth, and all great men, were humble, and 
did not like to have others depreciated for the purpose of 
exalting themselves ;' and, as instances, he noticed Sir Isaac 
Newton, Haydn, Mozart, and Feargus O'Connor. After the 
sermon, he announced that the tragedy of 1 Douglas' would be 
performed on the following Tuesday, and that 1 Hamlet* was 
in preparation. He then baptised a child 1 Feargus O'Connor 
Cooper Beedham.' "* 

Ordinary agitators had for a long time adopted the system 
of banners at their public processions. The original genius 
of Chartism for once discarded such ensigns as stale, flat, and 
commonplace ; and in lieu thereof startled the crowd at a 
meeting in Burnley with an infinitely grander conception : 
"The attention of the multitude was arrested by the ascent 
of a large balloon, with the words ' Feargus O'Connor' in- 
scribed in large characters." 

Banners, however, were admitted into other localities. On 
a banner at one of O'Connor's processions were inscribed the 
words, "More pigs, and fewer parsons." On another banner 
of stupendous dimensions were inscribed the following stanzas : 

" Lo ! he comes ! he comes ! 
Garlands for every shrine ; 
Sound trumpets ! strike the drums, 
Strew roses — pour the wine 1 

" Swell — swell the Dorian flute, 
Triumphal to the sky ; 
Let the millions' shout salute, 
For The Patriot passes by." 

Feargus now seemed to sweep through the world in the 
midst of a continuous triumph. Garlands, libations, Io 
Poaans. It was like the majestic advance of one of Homer's 

* Dublin Evening Post, 3rd January, 1843. 



126 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



demigods. But Feargus was not exalted by these celestial 
honours above the old terrestrial mode of dealing with political 
questions par voie dufait ; and accordingly, when confined at 
a subsequent period in York Castle for certain alleged mis- 
demeanours, he published " An Appeal to the Working Men 
of Yorkshire" to obstruct by violence the proceedings of a 
meeting at which O'Connell was expected to be present at 
Leeds. The appeal was exceedingly vehement, and much of 
it was eloquently written. He inquired whether, if he were at 
large, would O'Connell dare to come to Leeds to meet him ? 
And to this query he responded, " No ! a million times no !" 
He then urged the great debt which he said the Yorkshire 
Chartists owed to himself, and declared that all would be can- 
celled — nay, infinitely overpaid- — if they gave " O'Connor his 
day, and Dan his welcome." The conclusion of this eloquent 
incitement to a riot is extremely characteristic : 

" I live and reign," says Feargus, " in the hearts of millions 
who pant for an opportunity to prove their love, and who will 
"embrace that which is now presented, to convince me of their 
approbation of my honest endeavours to serve the cause of 
universal freedom. 

" I am, my friends and brothers, the Tyrant's Captive, the 
Oppressor's Dread ! the Poor Man's Friend, and the people's 
Accepted Present, (< Feargus , Connok> ., 

The people did not respond to any great extent to the bel - 
ligerent call of their Accepted Present. It was supposed, or 
promised, that 100,000 Chartists would assemble to oppose 
O'Connell ; but the contemporary journals state that from two 
to three thousand at the utmost, assembled upon Holbeck 
Moor. 

Feargus, during the earlier part of his imprisonment in York 
Castle, was treated with atrocious severity. He published 
in the newspapers statements of the barbarous indignities in- 
flicted upon him. In a letter to the Times he expressed a fear 
lest the prison discipline should abridge his existence ; and 
desired that in the event of his death, his body should be 
opened by three surgeons whom he named — one residing at 
York, another at Hammersmith, and the third in London. 
Before he had ended his epistle, however, he evidently thought 
that it would be better to live for future political squalls than 
to die in jail for & post mortem examination : " Adieu, world," 
he concludes, " for seventeen months ; but, by heaven ! I'll 
make a storm in you yet." 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



127 



In jail he performed some eccentric exploits. On the first 
Sunday after his arrival he was conducted to the chapel of the 
prison, where he astonished the congregation and scandalized 
the parson by bellowing the responses of the service in sten- 
torian tones. He was not again required to attend the chapel 
during his imprisonment. 

He early acquired supremacy among the apostles of Chart- 
ism. Joining the Chartists as a volunteer, he speedily worked 
himself into the supreme command, although he had compe- 
titors of by no means contemptible ability. A Chartist gentle- 
man once said to me, " He began with us as a disciple ; but, 
sir, he soon distanced all of us." 

In the Evening Star, a sort of adjunct to the Northern Star, 
and, like it, edited for a time by Feargus, an amusing writer 
published a series of sketches of the Chartist leaders, com- 
mencing with a portrait of the Chartist chief. The writer, 
describing an interview with Feargus and a Scotch Chartist 
leader named MacDouall, acquaints us that the latter gentle- 
man claimed a diabolical pedigree. " i Son of the Devil,' said 
the gallant little doctor, 1 is the meaning of my sirname.' 
1 And I am a lineal descendant from Roderick O'Connor, the 
last king of all Ireland !' said Feargus, kindled into a momen- 
tary pride of ancestry by this flash of the untameable spirit in 
the brave Scot. 6 There were five kings of Ireland, all O'Con- 
nors, at the same time, but I am lineally descended from 
Roderick, the Ardrigh, or high king. You see in me a speci- 
men of what my countrymen of the true Milesian descent 
would all have been, had it not been for the dwarfing effects 
of bad living and ill-treatment.' " 

It would seem that in thus offering himself as a specimen 
of the splendid proportions to which his countrymen might, if 
unpersecuted, have arrived, Feargus produced on the narrator 
an impression that he was, in truth, a being of mysterious and 
undefinable greatness. 

"From that period," continues the writer, " I have never 
seen O'Connor without regarding myself a3 in the presence of 
a true representative of the ancient Celtic chieftains — beings 
who depicture themselves to us out of the mist of time as 
characterised by simple and unaffected majesty of form and 
deportment, without the adornments of civilisation — the frip- 
pery of jewels, crowns, and sceptres." The writer ends by 
remarking that " the reality of O'Connor's greatness, as a 
devotee of principle," overawed his enemies. 

The above is doubtless very complimentary — not more so, 



128 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



however, than Feargus himself could be on appropriate occa- 
sions. In Dublin lived a Mr. Patrick O'Higgins, who got up 
a nibbling opposition to O'Connell, and devoted a room at the 
back of his house to the reception of a few discontented de- 
serters from O'Connellism. Mr. O'Higgins professed himself 
an ally of Feargus, and promised to propagate Chartism in 
Dublin. Feargus acknowledged his merits in the Star, and 
ended an eloquent eulogium by exclaiming, " Rome had her 
Brutus — Ireland has her O'Higgins. " 

When Joseph Sturge, the Quaker, was candidate for Notting- 
ham on the principles of moral force Chartism, Feargus gave 
him active assistance in the preliminary agitation. An affray 
took place in the market square of Nottingham, in which 
Feargus displayed strength and valour worthy of the descend- 
ant of the Ardrigh Roderick ; for although beset by numbers 
upon every side, he knocked all down right and left. Next 
day twenty-one men swore that Feargus had severally knocked 
each of them down in the riot. The Univers translated the 
English accounts of the transaction into French, heading the 
narrative, " Meeurs Electorales Anglaises." 

At one of the meetings for the Nottingham election Feargus 
exclaimed, " Hurrah for Sturge and Nottingham ! or for the 
Devil, if he supports the Charter." I should like to have seen 
the quiet Quaker-face of honest Joseph Sturge, on being thus 
hypoihetically coupled with the prince of darkness by his 
reckless ally. Perhaps the hurrah for the Devil was intended 
as a compliment to Dr. MacDouall, who asserted the diabolical 
derivation of his patronymic. 

The reports 01 O'Connor's meetings and speeches in the 
Star are full of traits illustrating that wild energy which formed 
so marked a feature in his character. We are told how he 
sat down after a two hours speech so exhausted that the per- 
spiration oozed through his dress ; how he said he would work 
the flesh off his bones, or have the Charter ; how he cheered 
his followers by declaring that he was " as strong as ten 
bulls ;" how he described Lane-End as the place " where the 
lads beat the cavalry and made them retreat," adding, " in 
this town all the people are born marksmen. I learn that a 
lad of fourteen or fifteen could kill a crow flying with a stone." 
He was resolved to lose nothing by unnecessary modesty. In 
one of his addresses to his followers he thus stated his 
achievements and his consequent responsibilities: "I have 
made the mind of England, and it is my duty now to guide it." 

He was ambitious of the reputation of possessing classical 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



129 



and scientific knowledge, as appears by the following extract 
from the Manchester Guardian : " Mr. O'Connor next referred 
to the charge of the Times, that he did not know how to spell ; 
and challenged any editor of that paper to be examined with 
him by any fellow from one of the colleges in Greek, Latin, 
Hebrew, Geometry, Algebra, Arithmetic, &c, and if he (Mr. 
O'Connor) did not beat him, he would consent to be banished 
from the country for life." 

In 1847 he was returned to parliament for Nottingham, 
defeating Sir John Hobhouse by a majority of over 600. In 
1848 an enormous Chartist demonstration, in which Feargus 
was of course the principal hero, took place in London. 
Serious disturbances were apprehended, and among the special 
constables then sworn in, it is said that the present Emperor 
of the French was enrolled. 

Feargus had instituted a land scheme, which elicited a vast 
number of five pound subscriptions from members of the 
Chartist body who believed that the payment of that sum 
would entitle them to profitable settlements on four- acre 
allotments. The scheme broke down, and with it broke dow T n 
its author's intellect. His insanity displayed itself in a num- 
ber of strange freaks in the House of Commons and its imme- 
diate precincts. He was confined, by order of the House, in 
one of its apartments for some days. During that period the 
newspapers gave constant accounts of his condition and his 
actions. From one of those accounts I take the following : 
" He still indulges in rapid, rambling aberrations; reciting 
to his attendants snatches of what he states to be his own 
poetical compositions — uttering now and then an eloge on the 
late Sir Robert Peel, abruptly broken off to descant on the 
disasters of an old woman and her pig in the bogs of Ballin- 
hassig — of a stud of some twenty long-tailed black horses his 
brother kept in Ireland — all whimsically interwoven with such 
canticles as are heard at the Coal-Hole, or by the recital of a 
litany, interlarded with tears, on the failure of the unfortunate 
land scheme." 

The exhibition was at once grotesque and melancholy. We 
discern amidst the shattered fragments of his once strong in- 
tellect, faint traces of the facetious humour which in his better 
days had rendered him an entertaining companion. He was 
removed to the asylum kept by Dr. Take at Chiswick, and 
thence, in 1855, to lodgings at Notting Hill-terrace, where he 
died on the 31st August of that year, in the sixtieth year of 
his age. The Chartists of London gave him a grand public 



180 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



funeral. He was buried at Kensall-green cemetery. His ad- 
mirers at Nottingham have erected a statue to his memory. 

O'Connell preserved the Irish Eepealers from the alliance 
with the Chartists which Feargus wanted to effect. O'Connell 
had no confidence in the leaders, and he condemned the unfair 
and intolerant policy repeatedly practised by the party, of 
violently obstructing all meetings held for any other political 
object than the attainment of the Charter. 



CHAPTER XII. 

"Justice hath done her unrelenting part, 
If she indeed be justice, who drives on, 
Bloody and blind, the chariot-wheels of death." 

SOUTHET. 

We are constantly told, in this year of grace 1867, to expect 
vast benefits for Ireland from the English legislature when it 
shall be popularised by the pending measures of Reform. We 
had been told, in like manner, to expect great benefits for 
Ireland from the Reform bills of 1831. Our experience of that 
period does not encourage us to entertain sanguine hopes on 
the present occasion. The proceedings of the first reformed 
parliament furnished a conclusive answer to those Irish whig- 
liberals who opposed Repeal on the plea that reform in the 
English legislature would supersede the necessity for domestic 
legislation for Ireland. 

The Irish agitation in 1831-2 was not opposed by the 
Whig government so long as it could be considered auxiliary 
to the English agitation for Reform. But as soon as the 
triumph of Reform was certain, and the Irish agitators were no 
longer required to subserve English purposes, prosecutions 
were threatened ; Lord Anglesea proclaimed down meetings ; 
and the sailor-king was instructed by his ministers in 1833 to 
express from the throne his " surprise" and " indignation" at 
the efforts of the Irish to obtain a restoration of the national 
legislature, of which they had been deprived by a system of 
Machiavellian fraud and diabolic crime. 

O'Connell denounced the king's speech as " a brutal and 
bloody speech — a declaration of war against Ireland." The 
address, echoing the royal speech, was of course carried by 
an enormous majority. The Coercion Bill, for restricting the 
people of Ireland from meeting to petition parliament, was 
shortly afterwards introduced. There was a very full muster 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



131 



of Irish and English members on the night of its introduction. 
Expectation was on tiptoe; it had been announced that dis- 
closures of an appalling nature would be made to justify its 
enactment. Lord Althorp (afterwards Earl Spencer) opened 
the case for the government. His delivery was heavy, hesita- 
ting, and unimpressive. He laboured under a disadvantage 
which in an impartial assembly would have been fatal — namely, 
that of requiring implicit belief in a tale of Irish outrages and 
horrors, in which the names of the informers were to a great 
extent suppressed. The House was ; called upon to ground 
coercive legislation upon unauthenticated charges ; and the 
pretext for withholding the authentication was, that to publish 
the names of the informers would expose them to personal 
outrage from their lawless neighbours. 

The House was perfectly ready to ground coercive legisla- 
tion for Ireland upon anonymous information. It was not 
nice as to pretexts. It was boldly alleged that praedial out- 
rages were the result of political agitation, and that in order 
to put down the former the latter should be suppressed. Any 
other origin of praedial outrages than political agitation ap- 
peared to be ignored by the friends of coercion. 

Lord Althorp's speech was a failure. O'Connell left the 
House immediately on its conclusion, and remained for some 
minutes in the lobby, offering triumphant congratulations to 
all the anti-coercion members whom he met, on the wretched 
exhibition of his lordship. " Did you ever hear anything 
more miserable ? Why, the government have literally got no 
case at all. Bad as the House is, it will be impossible to get 
them to pass the bill on such statements. Hurrah !" Thus 
did the Great Dan cheer the members of the Tail and his 
friends in general, expressing in the most sanguine terms his 
conviction that the government must be defeated. 

By-and-by Mr. Stanley (now Lord Derby) rose. He en- 
joyed one great advantage — he had an audience strongly pre- 
disposed in his favour. But in other respects he laboured 
under difficulties. He had, in fact, to repair Lord Althorp's 
failure. He had to re-state a series of allegations which had 
fallen, feeble and dull, from the incompetent lips of th.3 
blundering leader. And well did he perform his task. Before 
he had spoken for five minutes, the attention of friend and foe 
alike was riveted in admiration of the orator's abilities. 
Clear, rapid, and animated, he scathed the Liberals with the 
fire of his sarcasm, and combated their arguments with his 
showy and plausible parliamentary logic. The natural graces 



132 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



of his unconstrained and easy action, the vivid glances of his 
eagle eye, the air of bold and well- sustained defiance which no 
one could better assume, greatly enhanced the effect of his 
eloquence. He had gathered up some of the unconsidered 
sayings of his Irish antagonists, and paraded them before the 
House with wicked ingenuity as indicative of seditious inten- 
tions. He closed with a ferocious invective against O'Con- 
n ell personally, and sat down amidst thunders of Whig and 
Tory plaudits. 

Well did he merit the cheers of his party. The rickety 
and misshapen bantling of Lord Althorp was moulded by the 
plastic powers of Mr. Stanley into showy proportions and ap- 
parent strength. 

The bill was obstinately contested. Mr. O'Connell led the 
opposition, and displayed all the qualities of a great parlia- 
mentary debater. An Irish Conservative exclaimed with as- 
tonishment to the present writer as the House adjourned one 
night, " How stoutly Dan battles it out among these Eng- 
lish !" O'Connell had, in the course of the evening, thus 
concluded a fiery invective against the Whigs : "You have 
brains of lead, and hearts of stone, and fangs of iron." He 
displayed inimitable tact and dexterity in defence, promptitude 
and vigour in assault, and knocked about Whigs and Tories 
with an easy exercise of strength which astonished the mem- 
bers who had not previously witnessed such a brilliant display 
of his abilities. 

Despite the opposition of the friends of Ireland, the bill 
finally passed, and the constitutional privileges that yet re- 
mained to the Irish people were temporarily invaded — osten- 
sibly to check prsedial disturbances, but in reality to thwart 
the agitation for Repeal. Mr. Stanley had boasted that he 
would make his government feared before it should be loved. 
He did not make it either feared or loved — he only succeeded 
in making it hated. 

The crime thus committed against Ireland was aggravated 
by the fact that it emanated from the English Reformers in 
the full flush and heyday of their triumph. The first use the 
friends of English liberty made of their great victory was to 
crush the constitutional freedom of their Irish fellow- subjects. 
What a pregnant lesson to Irishmen ! What a practical com- 
mentary on the doctrine of imperial identification ! At the 
present moment there is a section of Irish politicians who tell 
us to accept Mr. Gladstone as the leader destined to conduct 
Ireland to greatness and prosperity. Mr. Gladstone has mer- 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



133 



cilessly increased our taxation fifty- two per cent., and given a 
stimulant to the exodus by draining the country of the means 
that ought to circulate at home for the sustentation of our 
people. In fiscal affairs he has shown himself our unscru- 
pulous foe ; but he has given expression to the sentiment that 
Ireland, in all matters purely local, should be ruled in accord- 
ance with the feelings and principles of the Irish people. Pro- 
vided he is allowed to take our money to a ruinous amount, 
he does not object to gratify our harmless national fancies. 
We are therefore exhorted to regard him, and the great Eng- 
lish Reform party, as allies of inappreciable value. The ex- 
orbitant taxation imposed on us by Mr. Gladstone is an ac- 
complished fact. The liberal declarations of its author are 
as yet little more than mere words. Words are cheap. On 
the 18th March, 1846, Sir James Graham anticipated Mr. 
Gladstone's verbal liberality in the following manner : " I 
think," said Sir James, " it is our bounden duty, in legislating 
for Ireland, not to legislate with regard to English feelings, 
English prejudices, and still less with reference to English 
law which has long obtained the sanction of usage in this 
country. But we are bound to consult Irish feelings, Irish 
habits, Irish laws, as they have existed for centuries, though 
they may be at variance with the provisions found in the 
English statute-book."* 

Sir James spoke these words under the pressure of O'Con- 
nelPs Repeal agitation. If Mr. Gladstone's declarations to the 
same effect shall be found to possess more value for the Irish 
people, I shall of course rejoice. There is one respect in which 
Reform in the English parliament may probably be useful to 
Ireland. It is likely to increase the power of the English 
friends of ecclesiastical voluntaryism — the only English party 
in whose sincere desire to abate the nuisance of the anti-Irish 
State Church I can place the slightest confidence. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

•* They came in the morning, scoffing and scorning, 

Saying, ' Were you harassed ? were you sore abused?* 
! Orange haters, ye heat the traitors, 
That betrayed our Saviour to the wicked Jews." 

Rockite Song. 

When the Coercion Act was passed by the first reformed 
parliament, the Eepealers were angry, but not depressed. If 
agitation was suspended for a season, its objects and purposes 
* Report in Morning Chronicle, 19th March, 1846. 



134 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



survived with undiminished vitality and vigour in the affections 
of the people. Affairs, however, wore a very dreary aspect. 
There was a cessation of the cheering, spirit-stirring political 
activity which had enlivened the preceding year, whilst the 
Catholic tenantry were in many districts mercilessly scourged 
for their anti- tithe and anti-Union offences. Ejectments were 
served on non- voters as well as on voters by some of the more 
bigoted landlords of the Tory-evangelic school. I have two 
cleared districts at this moment before me — that is, districts 
from which the Catholic tenantry were swept out to make room 
for a docile Protestant colony. The townlands respectively 
named Castletown and Shanavagh are situated in the county 
of Cork, and in 1837 were part of the estate of a Union-Earl of 
high Tory politics and warm evangelic zeal. That noble lord 
is since dead ; but his political and evangelic mantle has fallen 
on his present successor. 

It is right to premise that in the instance now mentioned, 
the landlord appeared to have acted from religious enthusiasm, 
not from political resentment ; for the ejected occupiers had 
not registered their votes. But expulsion is the same whether 
proceeding from fanatical ardour or political vengeance. I 
have selected the townlands in question, because, from their 
proximity to my residence, I had access to the best informa- 
tion respecting them. 

It may not be amiss to devote a few sentences to the past 
and present memoranda of these districts — the rather as the 
tale, with a few slight changes, is that of many a spot in Ire- 
land. Instruction sometimes lurks in the simple annals of the 
poor. 

Kinneigh, the parish in which Castletown is situated, is a 
wild upland tract, rising into abrupt and rocky eminences 
abounding in furze and coarse herbage. The hills are savage 
without grandeur ; there is nothing picturesque in their out- 
lines, and none of them ascend to any considerable elevation. 
There has, of late years, been erected a handsome Protestant 
church which replaces the former barn-like edifice ; and in its 
immediate vicinity stands one of the inexplicable round towers, 
seventy feet high. This tower is the only thing in the parish 
worth looking at. A stern old monument it is, of days so 
long gone by that man's memory retains no trace of their 
annals. 

Having mentioned the church, I may as well waste a few 
words in commemoration of an ancient parson, now deceased, 
by whom the church-goers of Kinneigh were for a long time 



IRELAND AND ELER AGITATORS. 



135 



illuminated. This gentleman, the Rev. Gilbert Laird, dropped 
into the parish, no one could tell whence, about the beginning 
of this century, or perhaps a few years previously. All that 
the Protestant parishioners knew about the matter was, that 
a queer-looking little brown bunch of a man, whose appearance 
bore some resemblance to that minute variety of the porcine 
species, a hedgehog, suddenly appeared in the pulpit one day, 
and delivered a discourse containing nothing about which any- 
body who heard it could predicate any quality in particular. 
The slight curiosity which was excited by the first appearance 
of the new parson died away, when it was found that all in- 
quiry as to his origin, birthplace, former associates, or habits, 
were perfectly fruitless. On all those matters he preserved to 
the end of his days an impenetrable silence. He bore with 
him due credentials from the absentee rector, so that his title 
to the curacy was undoubted and unquestionable ; and that, 
he conceived, was all that his flock were entitled to know. He 
continued to officiate and to preach : I believe the only effusion 
of his pulpit eloquence which yet survives in the parochial 
memory, is a discourse from the nursery fable of the Idle 
Grasshopper and the Industrious Ant, with appropriate 
amplifications from the preacher himself. Feargus O'Connor, 
who was one of the Rev. Gilbert Laird's congregation, excelled 
in his mimicry of this sermon, and often delivered it with great 
comic power for the amusement of his friends. No two human 
faces could be much more dissimilar in form or feature than 
those of the clergyman and his imitator ; but this dissimilarity 
seemed to vanish, so exquisite was Feargus's presentment of 
the voice, the manner, and the expression of countenance 
proper to the reverend original. 

Mr. Laird became a sort of favourite with one or two squires 
who played backgammon and lived loose, rollicking lives. He 
rattled the dice with more sociability than he had displayed 
in any other occupation ; and, although personally free from 
vice, he was not the man to annoy his patrons with many 
troublesome moral remonstrances. By-and-by the queer little 
man acquired a sort of small popularity, probably because his 
absurdities furnished matter for mirth. Whimsical stories 
were told of him ; people were amused with his odd habits, 
such as getting his bed thrashed with short flails every morn- 
ing by the housemaids, and his sleeping with a bolster at the 
bed-foot in order to accommodate himself in the event of his 
choosing to reverse the relative positions of his head and feet 
during the night. His penurious style of living also supplied 



136 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



matter for irreverent jests. He existed on the smallest pos- 
sible modicum of his salary as curate ; and the residue he re- 
gularly invested in the purchase of a life-annuity. The whole 
income arising from these investments he invested again ; so 
that if the insurance offices had given him ten thousand per 
cent., they would have still been gainers by their singular an- 
nuitant. Thus he went on, investing and re-investing ; and 
he flattered himself with the hope of enjoying the income thus 
created by the time it should reach £500 per annum. 

He continued unmarried until about the age of eighty- seven. 
He then united himself with a lady who was some fifty years 
his junior. The union was not happy, for he bitterly re- 
proached the bride with her deception in concealing the mal- 
formation of her left foot, which deformity he had not dis- 
covered until after the matrimonial knot was irrevocably 
fastened. He did not long survive the discovery ; and he now 
reposes in one of the graveyards of the city of Cork. 

The old gentleman, although far from being a model clergy- 
man, yet possessed the negative merit of doing no mischief. 

Such was the pastor to whose care the souls of the Protes- 
tants of Kinneigh were for many years committed. Whilst 
the spiritual interests of his small flock flourished under his 
tutelage, the temporal concerns of the Catholics were not in a 
very prosperous condition. They held the land from a middle- 
man named Gill man, who was the immediate tenant of the 
Earl of Bandon. Some of them paid their rents from the pro- 
ceeds of illicit distillation ; and the necessary consequence of 
such a system was the demoralisation of the parish to a con- 
siderable extent. The falsehood and chicane indispensable to 
those who carry on a contraband trade are not the worst re- 
sults of their illegal occupation. Men who live in defiance of 
the law become desperate, and blood has been shed in that 
unhappy district in defence of the pottheen stills. Undoubtedly 
the whole blame of these evils should not be cast upon the 
people. Those squires and squireens who encouraged their 
traffic by becoming their customers are to a great extent cul- 
pable.* 

* The manoeuvres of distillers to smuggle their whiskey have often dis- 
played much inventive genius. A celebrated Dublin distiller continued 
for a ,ong time to baffle the officers of excise by sending out large quanti- 
ties of spirits that had never seen a gauger's face, in tin cases which were 
made to resemble in shape the natural protuberance of a pregnant woman, 
and which were worn by accommodating damsels under their clothes. At 
last the distiller, growing bold from the frequent success of the experiment, 
tried his device on too extensive a scale. The suspicions of a knowing 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



137 



Let it not however be supposed that Castletown was an un- 
mitigated pandemonium of pottheen desperadoes. There were 
many of the inhabitants who had nothing to do with the stills, 
and who were of very fair average characters. 

The middleman from whom the people held their farms died ; 
and their leases all expired with him. His term was for his 
own life ; the townland at his death reverted to the Earl of 
Bandon. Here was a glorious opportunity to plant a Protes- 
tant colony. The noble Earl rejoiced with exceeding great 
joy at the facilities now presented of serving an ejectment on 
Idolatry and Wafer- worship, and inducting a colony of True 
Believers into the evacuated district. The number of persons 
to be expelled, young and old, good, bad, and indifferent, was 
247. The expulsion of such a multitude excited public interest. 
The Earl of Mulgrave, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, ad- 
verted to the circumstance in the House of Lords, and elicited 
the following reply from the noble perpetrator : 

"The Earl of Bandon felt, as the noble Earl opposite had 
alluded to him in so pointed a manner, it was necessary that he 
should trouble their lordships with a very few words. The 
noble Earl had brought a charge against him founded upon a 
newspaper report. He (the Earl of Bandon) was not in the habit 
of attending to newspaper reports, and he never condescended 
to answer them. He thought he had some reason to complain 
of the noble Earl for advancing so grave a charge against him, 
founded upon no more authentic information than that con- 
tained in a newspaper. He would not trouble their lordships 
by entering into a detail of his arrangements with respect to 
his own estate (hear, hear). He would only say that those 
whom he was accused, at that inclement season, of having 
turned adrift in the world, were, all of them, in their respective 
houses (laughter and cheers). Having made that statement 
he must repeat that he felt himself rather ill-used by having 
been called to defend himself from a charge founded upon no 
better authority than that of a newspaper."* 

Lord Bandon's virtuous indignation imposed on Lord 
Mulgrave, who immediately withdrew the accusation. The 
natural inference from Lord Bandon's words was, that the 

gauger were excited on seeing thirty-six women, r 11 enceinte, in Mr. 's 

premises. The gauger poked their persons with his wand, and speedily 
ascertained that the apparent fecundity of the fair phalanx was in truth 
derived from thirty-six tin vessels cunningly fitted to their persons, the 
contents of wiiich were speedily seized in his Majesty's name. 

* Parliamentary Report, in Cork Southern Reporter of 2nd December, 
1837, 



138 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



tenants were not to be molested. It is true that he did. not 
directly assert that they should not be disturbed, but his 
complaint of ill-usage at being accused of disturbing or ex- 
pelling them, was calculated to convey that impression to his 
audience. The real fact was that the tenants had all received 
notice to quit, but the notices had not then yet taken effect. 
The time of ejectment soon arrived. The aboriginal occupants 
were turned out, and new tribes of Hosfords, Applebys, 
Swantons, Dawleys, and Burchells were introduced. Three 
of the former tenants were permitted to retain a portion of 
their holdings ; of these a man named Hurley sought favour 
with the noble proprietor by promising to abjure Popery. 
The man accordingly went to the Protestant church, pursuant 
to his undertaking ; but conceiving that a domestic calamity — 
the idiocy of his son — was a mark of the divine vengeance at 
his change of religion, he threatened (according to the infor- 
mation I was given at the time) to return to his former creed. 
Whether he did so I know not. 

The whole machinery of proselytism was soon put in motion 
at Castletown and Shanavagh. Reverend personages exhorted ; 
readers and teachers besieged the Catholics on highways and 
byways ; schools were erected, to which some of the not yet 
extirpated Papists gave their trembling and reluctant atten- 
dance. The noble Earl's family occasionally visited these 
schools to watch the expansion of the nascent gospel seed, 
and to accelerate the process of its ripening by the warmth 
and light of their countenances. They are, I have no doubt, 
sincere enthusiasts ; and when we consider the vast influence 
their station and fortune if properly used might invest them 
with, it is deplorable to witness the direction their zeal has 
taken ; to contrast what they are with what they might be ; 
to see them take their stand in the front ranks of the anti- 
national interest, instead of being the honoured, cherished 
leaders of their countrymen to national independence. I can- 
not help remarking that there was a time when Francis Ber- 
nard, afterwards first Earl of Bandon, was associated with the 
people of Ireland in demanding the restoration of the Irish 
constitution. On the 25th March, 1782, at a meeting held at 
Bandon, he occupied the chair. There were three resolutions 
passed, of which the last affirmed, 

" That no power on earth can make laws to bind Ireland, 
except the King, Lords, and Commons thereof. 

(Signed) "S. Stawell, Colonel, Bandon Cavalry. 

"F. Bernard, Colonel, Bandon Infantry." 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



139 



Grattan had then fired the mind of the nation, and the 
sacred flame ignited many persons who themselves, or whose 
descendants, have degenerated into anti-nationalists. 

At Shanavagh the politico-religious movement produced its 
natural results. A man named Hurley (a suspicious patronymic, 
it would seem, in these districts) attended the school with 
great assiduity, and after a due course of instruction, professed 
his willingness to attend the Protestant church. He accord- 
ingly became a church- going Protestant, and his new confreres 
thought that a valuable fish had been hooked, One day a 
tenant of mine met this convert on the road, and asked him 
wherefore he had quitted his earlier faith to adopt Protestant- 
ism. 

1 ' Musha, God help us !" responded the convert, 1 1 I have 
got a small family to support, and I thought by turning I 
could maybe get a lase of the ould ground from Lord Bandon." 

" But you'd lose your poor sowl," remonstrated the other. 

" Och, maybe not — maybe not. I expect God won't take 
me so short entirely, but that I may quit them all and go back 
to Mass once more afore I die." 

The convert also told my informant that by way of an ad- 
ditional safeguard, he did not give attention to the preaching 
or prayers of the Protestant service, but rehearsed his own 
prayers mentally whilst the parson performed the service. 

Some time subsequently to the above conversation (which 
I took down from the lips of one of the parties) Mr. Hurley's 
duplex policy was curiously exhibited. He fell ill, and being 
afraid of death, despatched a messenger to bring the parish 
priest to administer the last rites of the Catholic Church. 
" But, hark ye!" added the politic invalid, " tell his reverence 
not to come up here till after dark, for fear any of the Pro- 
testants should see him and tell the minister." 

Mr. Hurley had considered his alternative — death, then 
Popery and Father O'Sullivan ; but if he should recover, then 
Protestantism and another attempt to conciliate his landlord's 
patronage. Father O'Sullivan (then priest of the parish) in- 
formed me that he refused to attend him, stating that his per- 
tinacious duplicity at that awful period totally disqualified him 
from the profitable reception of the rites of the Church.* He 
recovered, and continued to attend the Protestant place of 
worship ; but although he was permitted to remain in his 

* A reviewer, commenting on this narrative, said that it cut two ways, 
and that the priest must have left Hurley in a state of great ignorance. 
But Hurley was not ignorant that his conduct was criminal. He was 



140 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



farm, I am not aware that he obtained a lease of it. About 
the period referred to, he sent an infant child to the priest to 
be christened ; the child was smuggled in a covered basket to 
escape the observation of the Protestants.* 

It is but justice to say that the Protestant clergy then, and 
since, in the district have been men of irreproachable morals. 
They, in common with their brethren all over the kingdom, 
were startled at the march of nationality ; they trembled for 
the stability, if not of their Zion, at least of its temporalities. 
Hence their itching and uneasy zeal to make an inroad on the 
enemy's territories. I suppose Mr. Hurley's conversion has 

plainly acting against conscience, and the priest had nothing to do with 
his conduct except to condemn it. 

* Whilst the first edition of this work (1845) wa3 passing through the 
press, public attention became excited by the case, tried at the Tralee 
assizes, of the Rev. Charles Gayer, one of the leaders of a proselytizing 
establishment at Dingle, county Kerry, versus Patrick Robert Byrne, 
proprietor of the Kerry Examiner newspaper. The defendant was con- 
victed of what, in the rigid acceptation of the law, was deemed libel; but 
the organized system of rank bribery to proselytise the Catholics which 
the evidence disclosed must, I think, have received a salutary check from 
the publicity thus entailed upon it. Timothy Lynch, a witness and 
ci-devant con-vert, deposed that he got from Gayer the sum of £\2 10s. 
and two half-crowns as the price of his adhesion. Edward Hussey, 
another witness, also deposed to having received money from Gayer in 
consideration of his becoming a Protestant. John Power, a fish-jolter, 
deposed to having received from Gayer " about £b or £Q" for a similar 
consideration. Thomas Hogan deposed to having got from Gayer 
seventeen shillings in two different sums and two pecks of potatoes, and 
a house rent free from another proselytiser named Moriarty ; in conside- 
ration of which benefits he became a Protestant. James Kearney, 
another convert, deposed that the considerations for which he conformed 
were plentiful employment and good wages from Gayer, and a house and 
garden rent-free ; " he never paid a farthing rent ; taxes and all are paid 
for him ; has a garden behind the house the same way, and every one else 
has the same ; none of them pay any rent." Maurice Power, a second 
fish-jolter, deposed to having bargained with Gayer to become a Protes- 
tant for the price of a horse to carry his fish. These statements were 
uncontradicted by Gayer, who was in court during the trial ; and some of 
them (such as that of the houses being rent-free for converts) were of 
such a nature as from the public notoriety of the facts rendered denial in 
Kerry impossible. 

It is difficult to resist a smile at the ludicrous character of the prosely- 
tising system, thus exhibited on the uncontradicted oaths of competent 
witnesses. But the horrible moral results of that system, the spiritual 
recklessness which it necessarily engenders, suggest solemn and mournful 
reflections. The total insensibility to real religious conviction of what 
nature soever, the organized hypocrisy resulting from the traffic of the 
people with " the Dingle Mission," appears in the following incident. A 
batch of fifteen of Gayer's proselytes, finding their adhesion to the State 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



141 



been chronicled in some exulting report of the progress of 
" the gospel." He is certainly entitled to some notice, if it 
were only for the clever expedient of neutralizing the iniquity 
of his conversion by abstracting his mind, while in the Pro- 
testant church, from the services in which he externally pre- 
tended to participate. 

Well, Castletown was now peopled with a Protestant ten- 
antry. Shanavagh also was pretty well dotted with the new 
settlers. A sort of miniature millenium was to be exhibited 
amidst the Kinneigh furze -brakes for the edification of the 
surrounding community. The noble landlord doubtless re- 
garded his work with sentiments of self-applause. But — if 
the popular account of the matter may be trusted — the tenants 
disturbed his complacency by falling into arrears. Why 
should they live on potatoes and sour milk, as if they were no 
better than Papists ? They occupied the same religious level 
with his lordship. They accordingly lived well. Some of 
them showed their own sense of their gospel-dignity by follow- 
iug the hounds on good stout hunters. One peculiarly enthu- 
siastic Protestant shone forth in the glory of a red coat and 
top-boots. The Earl distrained his stock and crops, and set 
keepers to watch them ; the tenant grumbled, and muttered 
something about becoming a Repealer. Another Protestant 
Nimrod — Dawley — was menaced with expulsion from his farm ; 
whereupon, as the best revenge he could take on his lordship, 
he actually turned Papist and attended Mass.- 

Church less profitable than they had expected, turned off en masse to the 
Rev. Mr. M'Manus, Presbyterian minister at Milltown, and inquired what 
terms he would give them for becoming Presbyterians. 

In Moliere's Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Coviel denies that Monsieur 
Jourdain's father was a linen-draper ; he had, indeed, from disinte. ested 
benevolence, accommodated the public wilh linens ; and the public, from 
their grateful sense of his kindness, had gracefully and delicately pre- 
sented him with certain moneys. On both sides it was an elevated inter- 
change of practical philanthropy — there was nothing of traffic in the 
transaction. Precisely thus did "Messrs. Gayer and Company deny that 
they ever bribed " converts." True, some pauper Papists, from the force 
of sudden and simultaneous conviction, came rushing headlong into Pro- 
testantism ; true, also, the Protestant agents gave money, and free houses, 
and employment to the converts. But there was nothing of a quid pro 
quo in the transaction. On the one side it was conscientious adoption of 
religious truth ; on the other it was the most exalted benevolence and 
" mercy to the household of faith." 

* The circumstances above recorded were communicated to me in 1844 
by persons who had immediate access to the best information. All I 
know of the district at present is, that the Protestant colony continues to 
occupy the land. 



142 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



The people in numerous parts of the kingdom feel the 
paramount necessity of efficient protection from the irritating 
persecution of which I have given a specimen. The best pro- 
tection would be found in the principle of nationality. Were 
that principle well developed in Ireland, it would speedily 
absorb all wretched sectarian contentions. It would extinguish 
the pernicious desire to exalt any one sect or church at the 
expense of any other. The doings I have briefly recorded are 
exploits of what is called the English interest in Ireland. The 
people can never be prosperous or happy until the magnates 
of the land cherish the Irish interest — which, if they did but 
know it, is their 4 own true interest — as paramount to every 
other. 

Every unprejudiced person will concede that the interests 
of real religion cannot be advanced by the system of evange- 
lical bullyism. That much of the crime and insubordination 
in Ireland has arisen from the extermination — whether pious 
or profane— of the inhabitants, will be readily admitted, when 
it is remembered that in the five years from 1838 to 1842 in- 
clusive, ejectment proceedings were taken against no less than 
356,985 persons, as appears by parliamentary papers to which 
the public attention was called in June, 1843, by the late Mr. 
Sharman Crawford, who then affirmed that the clearing pro- 
cess went on at an increasing ratio. And from that day to this, 
among the incidents most familiar to those who watch Irish 
events with anxious interest, are the evictions of the Irish 
tenantry, often under circumstances which show that the work 
of expulsion is prompted by political vengeance or sectarian 
bigotry. 

It seems a curious and perverse fatality that the possession 
of the elective franchise, and also the want of it, have alike 
been fraught with bitter evils to the Irish peasantry. The 
exercise of the franchise in opposition to the landlord will has 
drawn down extermination upon tens of thousands. That 
the want of the franchise in former days also caused the ex- 
pulsion of the people from the soil, appears from a statement 
of John Keogh's in the published Correspondence of Edmund 
Burke. 

' ' It is a known fact," says Keogh in 1792, the year before 
the concession of the forty- shilling franchise, " that the Roman 
Catholics have been, and are every day turned out of very 
beneficial farms, deprived of the maintenance of themselves 
and their families, have lost their honest occupations, and the 
exercise (the most beneficial to the State) of their industry 



> 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



143 



and capitals, because they could not vote at an election, and 
to make room for those that could. A fortiori they have in 
multitudes of instances failed to obtain leases, nor can they 
ever obtain them on equal terms."* 

It was natural that a peasantry thus trained to regard the 
franchise as conducive to their livelihood, should, on first ac- 
quiring it, have used it for several years with greater subser- 
viency to landlord dictation than they have done in more recent 
times. When political corruption was at its greatest height, 
the landlord occasionally disposed of their electioneering in- 
terests to the candidates who bid the highest. The tenants 
saw that their votes were a subject of traffic with their land- 
lords. An instance of impartial rascality is recorded of Mr. 

B F . He sold the votes of all his tenants to two 

rival candidates, and pocketed the money of both. As he did 
not indicate to his tenantry the particular candidate for whose 
success he was desirous, one of the tenants, on behalf of the 
rest, asked his honour for which of the candidates they should 
vote ? 

" Faith, boys," answered Mr. F , " you may take your 

choice. I have knocked the highest penny I could out of 
your votes already, so it would be unhandsome of me to 
hinder you from selling yourselves now to whoever will bid the 
best." The tenants thanked his honour for his liberal per- 
mission, and proceeded as fast as they could to take his ad- 
vice. 

The expedients used to manufacture voters for an emer- 
gency were sometimes very curious. The well-known Mac- 
Coghlan of the King's county, when hard pressed for a batch 
of electors to turn the scale in an approaching contest, granted 
freeholds to the requisite number of voters ; the terms of the 
leases beiDg for the life of one Jack Murphy. The voters 
were put in possession — the election came on — and MacCogh- 
lan's friend, with the aid of the newly-made freeholders, car- 
ried the day. MacCoghlan, however, had not the least notion 
of allowing the new corps of voters to occupy his ground, now 
that their services were no longer necessary. He accordingly 
ended all their leases by shooting Jack Murphy, the common 
life in all. Be not horrified, good reader ; Jack Murphy was 
an old spavined horse. 



* Burke's Correspondence, iv. 6/. 



1U 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

" Ireland rests 'mid the rush of progression, 
Like a frozen ship in a frozen sea ; 
And the changeless stillness of life's stagnation 
Is worse than the wildest waves could he 
Rending the rocks eternally. 

" Trump et-tongued, to a people sleeping, 
Who will speak with magic command; 
Bidding them rise — these dead men keeping 
Watch by the dead in a silent land ?" 

Speranza. 

O'Connell was at last obliged by the pressure of some mem- 
bers of the Tail, as well as by the remonstrances of the Repeal 
newspapers, to bring the question of Eepeal before the House 
of Commons on the 22nd April, 1834. 

For some days previously, Mr. Spring Rice, who was pitched 
on as the special champion of the Union, was observed to frisk 
about the purlieus of St. Stephen's with the smirking self- 
complacency of anticipated triumph. He looked forward to a 
two-fold victory. He knew that he should have an over- 
whelming majority against O'Connell's motion ; and he had 
availed himself of his peculiar facilities of reference to official 
documents to prepare lengthy tabular statements illustrative 
of what he termed the giant- stride prosperity of Ireland under 
the Union. "With these he expected to demolish O'Connell's 
allegations of Irish decay. 

The 22nd arrived ; the House was crowded with members ; 
the gallery with strangers. 

O'Connell's opening speech rehearsed the outrageous crimes 
committed by England against Ireland from the earliest date 
of their connexion. Having, by this historical retrospect, de- 
monstrated the systematic enmity of England to this country, 
the speaker thence passed to the measure of the Union, dilated 
upon the means by which it was carried, exhibited the falling 
off in national prosperity which had been its consequence, 
and concluded by moving "for a select committee to inquire 
and report on the means by which the destruction of the Irish 
parliament was effected ; of the effects of that measure upon 
Ireland, and upon the labourers in husbandry, and operatives 
in manufactures in England, and on the probable consequences 
of continuing the legislative Union between both countries." 

O'Connell's able and comprehensive speech occupied five 
hours. 

On the next day (the 23rd), Mr. Rice delivered his reply. 



IRELAND AND ITER AGITATORS. 



145 



He deprecated Mr. O'Connell's references to the English 
atrocities of former times, as being in their nature irritating 
and irrelevant to the question before the House. 

He alleged the danger of two independent parliaments in 
one empire, and inferred the likelihood of separation under 
such a system from the differences on the Regency question 
in 1789. I shall not recapitulate his arguments here, as the 
subject will be examined in the Appendix to this work. 

He alleged that the Irish Volunteers had tried to intimidate 
the Irish parliament subsequently to 1782. Well had it been 
for Ireland if their interference had been potential ! What 
the Volunteers sought was to procure a reform of the Irish 
House of Commons ; of which measure the principle has been 
since recognised, and incorporated with the British constitu- 
tion, by the English legislature. 

He alleged that the Irish parliament had been notorious for 
jobbery and corruption. Not more so, certainly, than the 
English parliament. Lord Macaulay says that there was a 
time when the only way in which the minister could manage 
the English parliament was by corruption.* That the Irish 
legislature was in this respect culpable, only proves that it 
needed the reform which the Volunteers sought — not that it 
ought to be extinguished. To urge the corruption of the un- 
reformed Irish parliament as a reason for putting an end to it, 
is extremely like saying that as death puts an end to disease, 
the best mode of treating a sick man is to kill him outright. 

He next quoted Grattan, to show that the achievements of 
the Irish parliament had not realised his expectations. But 
he omitted to quote Grattan's declaration that the Irish par- 
liament, with all its faults, had done more good for Ireland in 
fourteen years than the English parliament had done fur Eng- 
land in a century. 

He denied that the rebellion had been fomented in order to 
carry the Union. 

He alleged the parental care of Ireland evinced by the im- 
perial parliament; stating that no less than 175 committees 
on Irish affairs had been appointed by the House since the 
Union. He, however, forgot to state that the immense ma- 
jority of those committees had ended abortively ; and that the 
committee of 1825, for which he claimed the merit of carrying 
Emancipation, was in fact the product of O'Conueirs Irish 
agitation. 

He claimed merit for England in admitting Irish corn an 1 
* Hist. England. 

7 



146 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



butter duty free ; as if it were a boon to Ireland to increase 
tbe supply of food to English consumers and to cheapen its 
price for them. England has, since then, done the same, for 
all the world ; compelled by the exigencies of the English 
stomach to import as much food as she can get, and on the 
cheapest possible terms. 

He inferred the giant- stride prosperity of Ireland from her 
largely increased exports of corn and cattle ; omitting to notice 
that the producers of the corn and cattle were disabled by 
penury from consuming the food of their own raising, and 
that much of the price received for the exports was again ex- 
ported to England in the shape of absentee rents.* 

Mr. Rice stated some acts of beneficial tendency which the 
United parliament had passed for Ireland. But in claiming 
credit for the Union on this score, he omitted to show that a 
reformed Irish legislature would not have passed every one of 
the good laws in question, and many more into the bargain. 

He produced multitudinous tables to demonstrate the im- 
proved condition and increased comforts of the Irish people 
generally after the Union. Cruel mockery ! At the time 
when he spoke, there was the evidence of the Kailway Com- 
missioners showing that 2,385,000 of the Irish people — being 
more than one-fourth of our then population — were destitute 
paupers for thirty weeks in every year. 

He stated many grants made by the imperial parliament to 
Ireland from 1800 to 1834. But he did not state that the 
greater part of those grants had been made prior to 1821, in 
virtue of an express stipulation at the time of the Union for 
their continuance for twenty- one years ; nor did he state that 

* In truth, a table of Exports and Imports may afford no true test of a 
nation's prosperity. Let me borrow the following illustration from my able 
friend Mr. Staunton (1844) : " Fifty years ago we manufactured our own 
cloth — at present we get cloth from England. Fifty years ago £100 
worth of corn sent from Tipperary to Dublin was consumed in Dublin, 
and paid for with £100 worth of cloth made in Dublin. Here was a 
transaction which occasioned no exports or imports. Contrast this trans- 
action with the present condition of affairs. The £100 worth of corn 
goes from Tipperary — not to Dublin, but to England. Tt is paid for with 
£100 worth of cloth made in England. An item is furnished to Spring 
Rice's table of exports and imports, and he cries out ' Hurrah ! I have 
got a triumphant proof of Irish prosperity.' But how stands the fact ? 
In the former transaction, which exhibited no imports nor exports, the 
Irish corn fed the Irishman, and paid for Irish manufactures. In the 
latter transaction, which exhibits both an import and an export, the Irish 
corn feeds the Englishman, and is paid for in English manufactures, 
whilst the Irish operative perishes for want of employment." 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



147 



the imperial parliament commenced the work of reduction as 
soon as the stipulated period had expired. And he did not 
state that the aggregate of the absentee rents and absentee 
taxes remitted from Ireland largely exceeded the whole of his 
boasted grants. 

He stated that the consolidation of the exchequers of Eng- 
land and Ireland in 1817 had been precipitated by the bank- 
ruptcy of Ireland. But he did not tell the House that Ireland 
had been made bankrupt by the financial terms of the Union, 
which had forced her to contract for an expenditure she was 
totally unable to meet. The reader will find in the Appendix 
a paper issued by the National League in which the nature of 
the fiscal grievance is examined. 

Mr. Rice quoted the amount of tonnage of the vessels clear- 
ing out from Irish ports, in proof of augmented commercial 
wealth, relying on his hearers' ignorance of the fact that ton- 
nage is frequently a delusive index.* 

He repeated the old fallacy that Irish agitation kept English 
capital out of this country. Just as if English capitalists were 
not constantly investing their money in countries where real 
danger and real obstacles are encountered — in foreign lands, 
where a single hostile shot between the countries would de- 

* To illustrate this position, I subjoin the following table of Dublin 
tonnage, which I obtained in 18-42 from a well-informed source. It is 
close enough to accuracy to serve the purpose of the argument : 

In 1832 there were about 130 vessels cleared outwards to foreign port? 
from Dublin. Of these 

43 were in ballast (timber ships), and 
52 with passengers. Thus, 

95 out of 130 represented no profitable commerce. 
Again, in 1833, there were about 180 vessels cleared out to foreign 
ports. Of these 

90 were in ballast, and 

30 with passengers. Thus, 

120 out of 180 represented no profitable commerce. 
Again, in 1834, there were 150 vessels cleared out to foreign porH 
Of these 

G4 were in ballast, and 

49 with passengers. Thus, 

113 vessels out of 150 betokened no profitable commerce. 
Before a table of tonnage, therefore, can be accepted as a test of com- 
mercial prosperity, it is necessary to ascertain the nature of the traffic 
which that tonnage represents. Of course a profitable export trade in^ 
volves large tonnage ; but, on the other hand, large tonnage inay exist 
w ithout a profitable export trade. 



148 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



stroy the security for repayment. " England," says Captain 
Marryat, "has now 55 millions sterling invested in American 
securities, which is a large sum, and the majority consider 
that a war will spunge out this debt."* 

At a later period, Lord George Bentinck gave the House of 
Commons a list of English investments in foreign speculations, 
both civil and military. He was urging an advance of money 
for Irish railways, and contrasting the reluctance of parlia- 
ment to give a farthing for that purpose with the lavish pro- 
fusion displayed by government, as well as by private specu- 
lators, in squandering English wealth on the objects he enu- 
merated : " Send it abroad," said his lordship, " as you did 
some £70,000,000 for three years to foreign countries to sup- 
port their wars and to subsidise foreign nations. Send it 
abroad, as you did £10,000,000 or £12,000,000 in 1825 ; and 
invest £7,000,000 sterling in Peruvian mines, Mexican gold 
and Mexican silver, as you did in 1825. . . . Sink your 
capital in no less than twenty-three foreign mining compa- 
nies. . . You also sent £18,000,000 to Portugal, and you 
sunk £22,000,000 in Spanish Actives, Spanish Passives, and 
Spanish Deferred. To America, in 1836, you sent millions. 
You got rid of £100,000,000 in this way."f 

The English capitalist can scatter his investments broad- 
cast all over the globe excepting in Ireland. Dangers of 
climate, dangers of war, perils of earth, air, or ocean deter 
him not. It seems there is only one scarecrow on the face of 
the earth that has terrors for his adventurous soul ; and that 
scarecrow is Irish agitation. Mr. Spring Rice in 1834 affirmed, 
with as much parliamentary gravity as if he expected a single 
human being to believe him, that the capitalists who were un- 
deterred by the vast variety of real and substantial dangers 
that beset their undertakings in the most remote corners of 
the globe, were frightened out of Ireland b}' Irish agitation — 
that is to say, by the clack of our platform eloquence. Our 
subsequent experience teaches us a different lesson. There 
was, for a good many years after the famine, a cessation of 
what is called Irish agitation. We were nearly as quiet as 
the graves into which myriads of our countrymen had been 
precipitated by English misgovernment. Did English capital 
stream into our country, to reward our quiescence and to verify 
the prophecies of Mr. Spring Rice ? On the contrary, Mr. 

*Capt.Marryat's Diary in America, Part II. vol. 2, p. 118. London. 1839. 
t Speech of Lord George Bentinck in the House of Commons, 4th 
February, 1847. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



149 



Gladstone seized the moment of our helpless prostration to 
add about £2,300,000 per annum to our taxes ; which friendly 
achievement constitutes, I presume, his claim to the enthusi- 
astic confidence so warmly expressed by some of his Irish ad- 
mirers. 

The talk about English capital coming to Ireland is an im- 
pudent mockery. We should not want a shilling of English 
capital if England did not rob us of Irish capital. We are 
plundered of our own by a ceaseless process of abstraction, 
and then it is said to us, " Do but keep quiet, and suffer Eng- 
lish wealth to stream into your island." 

Whatever other reasons may exist to prevent the investment 
of English capital amongst us, it is certain that the Union, by 
giving the English manufacturing capitalist the command of 
the Irish manufacture- market, deprives him of at least one 
motive to expend his capital in establishing manufactures here. 
He has already got our market. What more does he require ? 
From his mill or his factory in Yorkshire or Lancashire, ha 
can pour any amount of his fabrics into Irish circulation. 
Why, then, should he incur the needless risk and expense of 
establishing a factory in Tipperary or Roscommon ? 

Mr. Rice's oration lasted for six hours and a-half. At its 
close he was unable to find the amendment to which his long 
speech was the prelude. Some mirth was excited by his per- 
plexity. The amendment was found on the following day, 
read by the Speaker, and seconded by Mr. Emerson Tennent 
in a speech which, pursuant to his invariable habit, he had 
carefully written out and got by heart. The only part of it 
worth extracting is the following ludicrous specimen of flippant 
nonsense : " Ireland was, we were told, annihilated and ex- 
tinguished by the Union, inasmuch as it then ceased to be a 
distinct kingdom. But on the same principle, Scotland must 
likewise have been annihilated, when she, in 1707, ceased to 
be a distinct kingdom on being incorporated with England ; 
and by a parity of reasoning, if the mere fact of incorporation, 
by destroying distinctness, involves extinction, England her- 
self must have been annihilated when she became incorporated 
with the other two" (loud cheers.) " So that, according to the 
doctrine of the Repealers, the whole empire must at this 
moment be ideal, and exist, like the universe of Berkeley, 
only in the imagination of its inhabitants" (renewed cheering). 

What an index to the discerning sagacity of the House is 
afforded by the plaudits elicited by Mr. Tennent ! Here now 
are the facts : 



150 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Ireland lost two-thirds of her representation by the Union ; 
England preserved her own representation whole and in- 
tact. 

Ireland lost the power of legislating for herself ; England 
retained unimpaired, the full power of self-legislation, and ac- 
quired, in addition, the power of legislating for Ireland. 

Ireland lost the advantage of a resident legislature and its 
consequent expenditure ; England lost nothing, and acquired 
the residence not only of the Irish delegates^but of the largely 
augmented crop of Irish absentees whom the transfer to 
London of the legislative power attracted thither. 

And yet a parrot-statesman is cheered by the collective 
wisdom when he glibly rehearses the absurd proposition that 
if the Union politically annihilated Ireland, which had lost 
much and gained nothing, it necessarily also annihilated 
England, which had gained much and lost nothing. 

Kichard Sheil made a brilliant speech in the debate. He 
had, for some time after 1880, coquetted with Eepeal. The 
Great Agitator had made many public appeals to him to join 
the movement ; but vainly, until the general election of 1832; 
necessitated a decisive declaration on the subject. Sheil then 
declared himself a determined and unqualified Repealer. His 
accession was hailed with delight by O'Connell, who triumph- 
antly exclaimed, " Richard's himself again." The important 
recruit proved a useful and powerful ally in the parliamentary 
debate. Of his speech I shall quote one or two passages : 

" At the time of the Union Ireland was charged with the 
contribution of two- seventeenths.* Was that fair ? Sir John 
Newport and Lord Plunket both asserted that it was most 
unfair ; but the fact was far better than the authority of either 
of them, for it turned out that Ireland was unable to pay it 
It was necessary to make up her deficiency by a loan. Where 
was that loan borrowed ? In England ; and the revenue of 
Ireland was devoted to paying the interest on that loan to 
British capitalists. " 

Sheil produced great effect by his allusion to the case of 
Belgium : 

" Now turn to Belgium. Does not the example bear us out ? 
Hear an extract from the Declaration of Belgian Independence. 
After stating that the Union was obtained by fraud, the docu- 
ment goes on and states that * an enormous debt and expen- 

* Not two-seventeenths of the whole imperial revenue, but two-, 
seventeenths of that part of it which remained after the debt-charge of 
each country had been first provided for by separate taxes upon each. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



151 



diture — the only dowry that Holland brought us at the time 
of our deplorable union ; taxes overwhelming by their amount ; 
laws always voted by the Dutch for Holland only, and always 
against Belgium, represented so unequally in the States- General ; 
the seat of all important establishments fixed in Holland ; the 
most offensive partialities in the distribution of civil and mili- 
tary employments — in a word, Belgium treated as a conquered 
province, as a colony ; everything rendered a revolution in- 
evitable.' " (Loud cheers from the Repealers.) " You fear," 
continued Mr. Sheil, " separation may be the result of Repeal. 
What may not be the result of maintaining the Union ? Let 
a few years go by ; Catholic and Protestant will become re- 
conciled (their divisions cannot last for ever) ; the popular 
power will augment — the feelings of the people will be extended 
to their representatives — the absentee drain will continue — 
the church system will be still maintained — the national mind 
will become one mass of heated and fiery emotion — the same 
disregard for the interests and feelings of Ireland will be dis- 
played ; and then (may God forefend that the event should 
befal !) if there be an outbreak of popular commotion here ; 
if the prediction of the Conservatives should be fulfilled, and if 
your alliance with France, which is as unstable as its dynasty, 
should give way — then you may have cause to lament, but 
lament when it will be too late, that you did not give back her 
parliament to Ireland." 

Sir Robert Peel followed Sheil in a speech of great ability 
and eloquence, but which partook of the fallacious character 
necessarily attaching to all that was urged in defence of the 
Union. He quoted Canning's smart saying, " Repeal the 
Union ! restore the Heptarchy !" but he omitted to state that 
both the Repeal of the Union and the restoration of the Hep- 
tarchy had been instanced by Canning as absurdities analogous 
to a reform in Parliament. What Canning had said was, 
"Reform the Parliament! repeal the Union! restore the 
Heptarchy !"* Canning, in a debate in the British House of 
Commons on the Union in 1799, termed Catholic Emancipa- 
tion " a wild and impracticable measure." These random 
expressions of statesmen are worth little or nothing. The 
supposition that the man who would give Ireland a parliament 
is bound by his own principles to give separate governments 
to Essex and Kent, was unworthy the intellect of Canning. 

* So O'Connell told me. I have not seen the report of Canning's 
speech containing the passage cited. The speech next referred to I found 
in an old volume of the debates of 1799. 



152 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Sir Robert next urged that Repeal would be a dismember- 
ment of the empire. 

He said that absenteeism was caused, not by the Union f 
but by " the cursed system of agitation." 

He tried to terrify the Irish Protestants by predicting that 
they would have real dangers to encounter should Repeal be 
achieved. Since Sir Robert spoke the Irish Protestants have 
had to endure a large share of the general poverty entailed by 
the Union, as the vast reduction of their numbers, the records 
of the Encumbered Estates' Court, and other records also,, 
bear witness. 

He manfully avowed the spirit of British domination by 
declaring that 4 4 he, for one, would never consent that to an 
Irish parliament should be left the determination of the pro- 
portion of the amount that country should contribute in future 
to defray the general expenses of the state, and contribute to 
the diminution of the general public debt." 

A more barefaced and impudent avowal than this of the 
robber-principle, " We will put our hands into your pockets 
whether you like it or not," it would be impossible to make. 
It was just the thing to tell effectually with an English au- 
dience. 

He denied, in defiance of (TConnell's proofs, that Pitt and 
Castlereagh had fomented the rebellion of 1798 ; alleging 
that those statesmen could not have afforded a rebellion at a 
time of foreign war, and when a mutiny broke out at the Nore. 
They could, however, afford to pour 187,000 troops into Ire- 
land ; and the forces thus left at their disposal well enabled 
them to afford a rebellion. 

He defended the application to Ireland of the ruinous and 
infamous principle of Divide el impera, alleging that this prin- 
ciple had protected the two parties from each other; and that 
he regarded it as the mediator by which, in all domestic quar- 
rels, the fury of both sides had been allayed. 

He quizzed Mr. Feargus O'Connor about the Irish King 
Roderick, quoting some ancient account of a barbarous cere- 
monial at the coronation of the kings of Ireland. Much 
laughter was excited by this sally. 

He then wound up by a very eloquent allusion to the tre- 
mendous conflict which agitated Europe from 1803 to 1814, 
calling the attention of the House to the fact that among the 
bravest military leaders were the Irish generals Ponsonby 
and Packenham ; that the British army had been commanded 
by the Irish Wellington, " who, standing with his back ta the 



IRELAND AND II KR AGITATORS. 



153 



sea on the rock of Lisbon, saw all Europe in dismay and her 
liberties jeopardised, but who never ceased from his glorious 
labours till he saw the whole Continent emancipated." 

What the Union had to do with the valour of Ponsonby and 
Packenham, or with the glories of Wellington, it were difficult 
to tell. I presume that even had the Irish parliament con- 
tinued to sit in College-green, England would have readily 
availed herself of Irish valour and Irish military genius. 

" During that period," said Sir Robert (namely from 1803 
to 1814) the reins of government were "placed in the hands of 
a Castlereagh and a Pitt,* and a Grattan was seen to join with 
a Fox in the deliberations of the legislature of the country." 
It is political blasphemy to class the illustrious Grattan in the 
same category with the execrable patricide Castlereagh. 

The conclusion of Sir Robert's speech was eloquent : " With 
the return of a separate parliament, after the Catholic disabi- 
lities had been removed, what might not be expected from 
the triumphant rancour of religious hatred ? It would amount 
to a complete disbanding of society. Who could set bounds — 
who could regulate the force of those antagonist powers — who 
could so adjust the centrifugal force, if he might so term it, 
which ought to keep Ireland within her proper orbit in the 
system of the empire, as to prevent her flying away into the 
chaos of lawless agitation, or a boundless sea of revolution ?" 
(Continued cheers.) " To set such boundaries was beyond 
any power that man could possibly employ. To effect such a 
state of things required the might of that omniscient and 
omnipotent Power which in the material world had separated 
the light from the darkness" (loud cheers), "and prescribed 
the eternal laws by which the magnificent harmony of the 
planetary system was arranged and sustained." 

Sir Robert sat down in the midst of a perfect tempest of 
applause, of which the enthusiasm was not diminished by the 
shameless libel on the Irish Catholics which he deemed it ex- 
pedient to pronounce. " Triumphant rancour of religious 
hatred." The Protestant Parnell, in his Historical Apology 
for the Irish Catholics, does their character justice in this 
respect : " The Irish Roman Catholics bigots !" he exclaims ; 
" the Irish Roman Catholics are the only sect that ever re- 
sumed power without exercising vengeance." 

And another Protestant historian, Dr. William Cooke Taylor, 
speaking of the Catholics of Ireland, says : "It is but justice 



* Pitt died in 1806. 



154 



IRELAND AND HEK AGYT ATOMS. 



to this maligned body to add, that on the three occasions of 
their obtaining the upper hand, they never injured a single 
person in life or limb for professing a religion different from 
their own."* 

In truth, one of the most prominent traits in the Irish 
Catholic character is the absence of religious bigotry. This 
trait is displayed in the fairness with which Catholic majorities 
in corporations elect Protestant mayors in due rotation. It 
is manifested by the fact that priests and people prefer Pro- 
testant candidates of popular principles to Catholic candidates 
of unpopular politics. The contests between the Protestant 
Spaight and the Catholic Ball, and between the Protestant 
White and the Catholic Waldron, are instances in point. Our 
people are stedfastly faithful to the Catholic religion. But 
their politics are influenced, not by theological predilections, 
but by their desire for the success of some legitimate political 
object. It was stated in the debate of 1834 by Mr. Lambert of 
Wexford (an anti-Kepealer) that the Catholic Bishop of Water- 
ford was pelted with mud in the streets of that city because he 
was not a Bepealer. No man of right feeling will approve such 
an outrage, but the fact shows that even among the lowest and 
most violent of the populace religious partisanship was absorbed, 
in national prepossession. The Bepealer was, with them, a 
character more sacred than the non-repealing prelate. The 
mitre was unable to protect its venerable wearer from the in- 
dignation of those who deemed their nationality outraged by 
bis non-adhesion to their cause. w Triumphant rancour of 
religious hatred." Sir Bobert, in this outrage upon truth,, 
calculated that his words would influence that class of persons 
whom a blind, unreasoning hatred of Catholics and Catholicity 
diverts from the real interests of their country and of them- 
selves. He calculated accurately. 

After some further skirmishing among the smaller fry, the 
debate was closed by Mr. O'Connell in a speech remarkable 
for its vigour and vivacity. I extract from it the following 
passages : 

" I have insisted on the incompetence of the Irish parlia- 
ment to create a new legislature, and I am convinced I was 
right in that part of my argument. There was nothing to 
authorise the parliament of Ireland to dispose of the Irish 
nation, any more than there was anything to authorise the 
British parliament to dispose, of the British nation to any other 
m the face of the globe. 

* Taylor's Hist. Civil Wars of Ireland - r vol. i. j>. 169. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



155 



"As to the fomenting of the rebellion in order to bring 
about the Union — upon that point I have been perfectly tri- 
umphant. i But why,' said the right hon. baronet, ' should 
Mr. Pitt and Lord Castlereagh excite a rebellion in Ireland at 
a time when there was a mutiny at the Nore ?' That mu' iny 
had broken out suddenly and unexpectedly. What, therefore, 
had its existence to do with the fomentation of the rebellion ? 
The English ministry did not foresee the mutiny, though they 
might have conjectured the outbreak of the rebellion. Could 
the Union have ever been carried but for the rebellion ? 
What answer could be given to the Report of the Secret Com- 
mittee of the Irish House of Commons, from which it appeared 
that a person holding the rank of colonel of the United Irish- 
men had given to the government monthly reports of their 
secret meetings from March,* 1797 ? It was clear from this 
that the government were cognizant of the plot, and had it in 
their power to put it down. But the right hon. gentleman 
said there were traitorous materials in Ireland. Undoubtedly 
there were, otherwise there could not have been a rebellion ; 
but those materials were not of a formidable nature. They 
existed to a certain extent in Leinster and Ulster, and pro- 
duced two skirmishes, in one of which Lord O'Neill was killed : 
but the only really formidable occurrence took place in Wex- 
ford. These matters were encouraged — not repressed ; and 
the Union was brought about by fomenting the rebellion till 
it exploded 

Mr. O'Connell continued in a strain of great animation to 
reply to the arguments of several of his opponents seriatim. 

The motion for the Repeal Committee was negatived by an 
enormous majority — the numbers being 525 against 40, in- 
cluding the tellers. 

Mr. Stanley took no part in the debate. He was probably 
muzzled by Sir Robert Peel, who, with characteristic policy 
and caution, contrived that the debate should sustain as little 
interruption as possible from the indecent shoutings and fero- 
cious yells with which the Irish members had been assailed 
during the discussion on the Coercion Bill in the previous 
year. Mr. Stanley's silence was remarkable. His feelings 
against the Repeal were very strong; he had in 1883 declared 
he would " resist it to the death." That he did not now avail 
himself of the opportunity of renewing that declaration, is pro- 
bably to be ascribed to the management of his more cautious 
leader > who naturally doubted his discretion. 

* This should be April, 



156 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



The ministerial and English journals generally were loud in 
their glorifications. Spring Rice's speech they pronounced to 
be an unanswerable manual. No Repealer could in future 
dare to raise his voice against the demonstrations, clear as 
light, of the infinite benefits the Union had conferred upon 
Ireland. The question, they said, was finally set at rest ; and 
they added much more to the same purpose. 

Meanwhile, the result of the debate upon the Irish people 
was precisely what any man who knew the country and its 
inhabitants must expect. They saw in the division a fresh 
proof of English hostility to their rights and of English in- 
difference to their grievances. Mr. Rice's tabular dexterities — 
his " giant- stride prosperity" on paper, seemed a heartless 
and insolent mockery to a people of whom every fourth indi- 
vidual was a destitute pauper. The alacrity and fervour with 
which the House applauded the most hollow fallacies, afforded, 
to the minds of the Irish nation, fresh evidence of its total 
ignorance of their condition and its consequent incapacity to 
legislate for their advantage. Our people felt that the con- 
stitution of Ireland was the indisputable property of the nation, 
and not of its parliament, which consequently had no autho- 
rity to sell it in 1800. Their resolve to struggle for the Re- 
peal, to seize whatever opportunities God might send for its 
achievement, was thenceforth more firmly fixed than ever. 

Both Houses had addressed the king, who replied in an 
echo of their joint address. The address and the reply con- 
tained a promise to uphold the Union ; but at the same time 
a pledge ' 4 to remove all just causes of complaint, and to sanc- 
tion all well-considered measures of improvement." 

The Irish people were not so foolish as to place the least 
faith in this pledge of King, Lords, and Commons ; but they 
acquiesced in O'Connell's policy of testing their truth by the 
celebrated six-years' experiment, at the end of which, as the 
pledges were demonstratively proved to have been mere delu- 
sions, the Repeal Association was established, and the agita- 
tion directed once more into its natural and legitimate channel. 
I shall pass over the six years of Whig ascendancy, and the 
fruitless struggles for that chimera, Equality with England 
under the Union.* There was, to do the Whigs justice, a 
fair administration of the law, and their legal appointments 
were excellent. 

* In the Anti-Union, a most interesting periodical commenced on the 
27th Dec, 1798, and which reckoned Saurin among its contributors, I 
find at page 63 the following : " It has been asserted that the powers of 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



157 



CHAPTER XV. 

M Resolve ! resolve ! and to be Men aspire ; 
Let God-like Reason from her sovereign throne 
Speak the commanding word. ' I will,' and it is done." 

Thomson. 

The time was now come when O'Connell deemed it right to 
abandon for ever all attempts to obtain 6 ' justice for Ireland" 
from the English parliament. He accordingly embarked in 
his final effort to procure a Eepeal of the Union. 

On the loth April, 1840, he founded the Repeal Associa- 
tion. Its first meeting was held in the Great Room of the 
Corn Exchange, Burgh-quay, which is capable of accommo- 
dating about five hundred persons. The room was not one- 
fifth part filled ; there was a discouraging display of empty 
benches — a commencement that might well have disheart- 
ened a leader less sanguine than O'Connell. He remem- 
bered the commencement of the Catholic Association, the 
seven men who congregated in Coyne's back-parlour in Capel- 
street, and the magnificent result of that small beginning ; and 
he confidently looked forward to a yet more brilliant termina- 
tion of his new enterprise. 

Still the meeting had a very discouraging appearance to 
those who had not the sagacious forecast of the leader. It 
seemed as if the word Repeal had lost its potent magic. But 
the fact was far otherwise. The thinness of the attendance 
arose from no apathy as to the national cause. It arose from 
a strong fear on the part of the Repeal public that the new 
experiment was not made bond fide. Repeal had been tem- 
porarily abandoned before. Such might be again its fate. 
Men dreaded lest O'Connell merely meant to rattle it about 
the ears of the government in terrorem, as a means of com- 
pelling them to make minor concessions to Ireland. 

" As soon," said O'Connell, " as they begin to find out that 
I am thoroughly in earnest, they will come flocking in to the 
Association." 

The chair was taken by Mr. John O'Neill of Fitzwilliam- 
square, a Protestant merchant of great wealth and sterling 

Irish representatives will be enlarged, and the rights of Irish electors im- 
proved, by Irish representatives having two shares in eleven in the direc- 
tion of affairs relative to their own country only, instead of having the 
sole disposal of them in themselves alone." The other nine shares being 
in the hands of a jealous rival ! Such is the Union. 



158 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



patriotism. He had been, in early youth, a member of the 
Volunteer army of 1782. " I was then," he said to me, 
"too young to be of much use to Ireland, and now I am too 
old." But, young or old, his country had always commanded 
his best services. That good old Protestant patriot is long 
since dead. He descended to the tomb full of years, and 
deeply honoured by his fellow-countrymen. 

For more than half-an-hour the few who had congregated 
at the Corn Exchange anxiously awaited the opening address 
of the Liberator ; but he still lingered, apparently unwilling 
to commence, in the hope of a more numerous attendance. 
But no reinforcement came. There were manifestations of 
impatience amongst those who were assembled. 

O'Connell at length rose, and with the air of one deeply im- 
pressed with the high and solemn responsibility which he in- 
curred, spoke as follows : 

"My fellow-countrymen, I rise with a deep sense of the 
awful importance of the step I am about to propose to the 
Irish people, and a full knowledge of the difficulties by which 
we are surrounded and the obstacles we have to contend with. 
I trust that my heart is pure, and my judgment on the present 
occasion unclouded ; and I declare, in the presence of that 
God who is to judge me for an eternity of weal or of woe, that 
I have no object in view but the good of my native land, and 
that I feel in the deepest sense the responsibility I am about 
to incur. We are about to enter on a struggle that will ter- 
minate only in having the most ample justice done to Ireland 
by placing her on an equality with the sister country, or in 
the establishment of our legislative independence. The struggle 
commences now ; it will end only then. We commence under 
auspices that may afford little prospect of ultimate success to 
some ; but those who know the character of the brave, moral, 
religious, and patient Irish people, cannot be of that opinion. 
We will, no doubt, be laughed at and derided on all sides, 
and sneered at by friends who believe everything is imprac- 
ticable, and opposed by those malignant enemies who will be 
delighted to find any opportunity of manifesting their hostility. 
But no matter. We were derided and laughed at before by 
persons of this description when we set about the accomplish- 
ment of that great moral revolution which won religious free- 
dom for ourselves and others/' 

He then referred to the small origin of the Catholic Asso- 
ciation, its progress and triumph ; exposed the delusive nature 
©f the Union, and repeated his proofs of the anti- Irish spirit 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



no 



in which laws were made for Ireland by the imperial legisla- 
ture. He promised perseverance : 

" We have assembled to take part in proceedings that will 
yet be memorable in the history of our country. Yes, this 
15th of April will be yet memorable in the annals of Ireland. 
It shall be referred to as the day on which the flag of Repeal 
was unfurled ; and I shall fearlessly, legally, and constitu- 
tionally keep it unfurled until the day of success shall have 
arrived, or the grave shall close over me, and on my tomb 
shall be inscribed, * He died a Repealer.' . . . . We 
must be up, I say, and stirring. We can do no good by 
quiescence ; it may do us evil, but it can do us no service. 
We must take counsel from the French proverb, which says, 
' Help yourselves, and God will help you.' We must not 
forget the story of the fellow who, when the wheel of his cart 
stuck in the mud, prayed to Jupiter to help him. 4 You lazy 
rascal,' said his godship, ' put your shoulder to the wheel, and 
get along out of that.' I tell you there is nothing else for us 
but to help ourselves ; and help ourselves, with the aid of 
heaven, we shall/' 

Having quoted the well-known denunciations of the Union 
pronounced in 1799 and 1800 by Bushe (the Chief Justice) and 
Plunket (the Chancellor), he continued : " These are 

' Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn 
I have them here. They shall spread through the land in the 
course of the next week for the perusal of the youth of Ireland • 
not one of whom, I trust, will be found, whose eve will not glisten 
with fire, whose young heart will not burn with indignation at the 
spoliation resorted to by our enemies. There was a bargain, 
forsooth ! Why, is not the Chief Justice* still living '? and L? 
he not a witness for me ? Is not the Lord Chancellor of Ire- 
land, f with all his Asdrubals or Hannibals, living also to bear 
his testimony ? What care I whether he has changed his 
opinion or no ? He was honest then, because he had no sons 
to quarter on the State. Let him change now if he wish. In 
his day of virtue he felt and spoke those sentiments which I 
have read for you. Let him now change them in the day of 
his power and authority." 

In the opening passage of O'Connell's speech, he had men- 
tioned "justice to Ireland" as an alternative. But how vision- 
ary he deemed the prospect of obtaining that justice is evident 
from the following passage i 1 1 If we get the justice we desire, 



* Charles Kendal Bushe. 



+ ^"illiaui Conyngham Plunket. 



160 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



then our Kepeal Association is at an end ; but I know we will 
not get that justice, and that there is nothing left for us but 
to pursue vigorously the course we have commenced this 
day. . . . . Why should we for a moment deceive our- 
selves ? This justice will not be done to Ireland, and we will 
at once set ourselves right by declaring that there is a Repeal 
Association, and that unless the moral miracle be performed 
of having justice done to us by England, we will never cease 
until we have a parliament established in College-green.* 

" Not one single benefit has the Union conferred upon Ire- 
land, but, on the contrary, it has brought in its train poverty, 
degradation, and sorrow. When once the public mind is 
aroused, and the evils which we have suffered pointed out to 
the people, the Union cannot continue. It is not the writing 
of a single letter, nor the delivery of a single speech, that can 
effect the Repeal; it is the concentration of public opinion, 
directed as a galvanic battery, that will have that effect. That 
opinion will then become powerful as the lightnings of heaven, 
destroying everything that may impede its course." 

He concluded by moving the adoption of a set of rules ; 
the seconder of the motion being Mr. John Redmond, a 
patriotic citizen. 

So ended the first day's meeting. The Whig liberals did 
their best to throw contempt and ridicule on the proceedings. 
The paucity of the attendance was pointed out with scorn. 
Those gentlemen said to their acquaintances as they met in 
the streets, " Dan will never work this question — he is not in 

* As this passage appeared to contain an admission, even although a 
hypothetical one, that justice from England could supersede the necessity 
of Repeal, O'Connell guarded himself against such an objection in a sub- 
sequent speech, delivered on the 1st May, 1840. He explained his mean- 
ing, in still retaining the semblance of an alternative, to be this : " I have 
declared for the Repeal, and from this declaration nothing ever shall take 
me. It has been said that even in the formation of this society, I held 
out the alternative of justice. Let them do us justice ; let them increase 
our representatives to 150 in number — let them remove the church 
grievance — let them increase the franchise — let them do all this, and 
though they will not have convinced me that Repeal is unnecessary, they 

will deprive me of the forces by which I hope to succeed But 

who supposes that they ever will be brought to do us justice ? Not even 
a dreamer who dreamed soundly in his sleep ; no one short of an idiot 
could be brought to believe it. Why, it is absurd as the vulgar saying, 
* to^ stop the tide with a pitchfork/ 1 hold out the alternative, to be 
sure ; but it is to the English members of parliament — the alternative is 
not for me ; it is for them. ,; 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



1G1 



earnest — the people don't care about it" (this was a very 
favourite allegation) — " lie won't be able to get over the priests 
to help him." The word " Repealer" was pronounced with a 
derisive curl of the lip by the " genteel" liberals, who re- 
ligiously abhorred all treason against whiggery. More saga- 
cious men, however, knew the question was workable. They 
remembered the popular enthusiasm of 1832, and they did not 
believe that enthusiasm to be a mere fever fit. O'Connell was 
accused, as a matter of course, of embarking in what he knew 
and intended to be a delusive agitation. To create an im- 
pression that the leader was insincere, was a dexterous mode 
of damaging the cause. O'Connell, however, had the most 
intense conviction that success was possible, provided that the 
parties who were interested in its attainment would apply 
their whole strength to the task. Those parties were the 
people of Ireland. He had great faith in the manifest truth 
and common sense of his statements and arguments. When 
dictating reports and addresses to Mr. Ray, the able and ex- 
cellent secretary of the Association, he would say, "Well, 
Ray, I am acquitting my conscience ; I am giving the people 
of Ireland an opportunity to have their parliament restored, 
and if they do not aid me the fault is their own." 

He held that the Act of Union (which Saurin had pro- 
nounced to be destitute of any other sanction than coercive 
force), did not need a formal act of the imperial parliament for 
its repeal ; and he published in May, 1840, a masterly argu- 
ment to show that her majesty possesses the constitutional 
right of convoking the Irish parliament in Dublin, notwith- 
standing the iniquitous suppression of that body by the trans- 
action of 1800.* And he believed that it was not impossible 
to create a condition of public affairs in which her Majesty's 
advisers might deem such exercise of her constitutional prero- 
gative expedient. 

For a good while after the establishment of the Repeal 
Association, the English press was wholly, or nearly, silent on 
the subject. By-and-by, the English journalists condescended 
to laugh at the Repealers. After their wit was exhausted at 
our expense, they began to be abusive. The Repealers were 
denounced as political criminals of the worst description, and 
floods of coarse vituperation were poured on them from the 

* I have published O'ConnelFs argument, which he supports by histo- 
rical references, in the sixteenth chapter of my " Personal Recollections" 
of him. 



162 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



copious reservoirs of the Times newspaper. O'Connell re- 
turned the compliments of the Times in these verses : 

" Vile press without a parallel, 
Organ meet for fiends of hell, 
Lies thy trade ; thy master-sense, 
Bribed and brutal insolence. 
From Puddledock to either sea, 
Toryism stinks of thee." 

To account for the virulence of these lines, I should remind 
the reader that the Times had termed the Irish nation " a 
filthy and felonious multitude, " and the Catholic clergy a tribe 
of " surpliced ruffians." 



CHAPTER XVI. 

" Such men as these 
Give grace to holy mysteries, 
And make the pure oblation rise, 
A God -accepted sacrifice." 

Anon, 

The Repeal Association gradually expanded itself. Every 
week brought fresh recruits. Of these, some few were the 
ancient relics of a former age — old men who in early youth 
had stood in the ranks of the Volunteer army, and who now, 
ere they sank into the grave, were glad to enrol themselves 
once more in the service of their country. I have already named 
my old Protestant friend, John O'Neill. Another of our patri- 
archal adjuncts was Eobert M'Clelland, a northern Presbyte- 
rian, who, although then past eighty, was a regular attendant 
at the weekly meetings at the Corn Exchange as long as his 
health permitted him. It would be unjust and ungrateful to 
omit this mention of those venerable Protestant patriof s, whose 
aid was ever heartily rendered to every movement having for 
its object the enlargement of the liberties of Ireland. Requi- 
escant in pace. 

Repeal progressed. The Catholic clergy sent in their ad- 
hesions pretty numerously. On one occasion a bishop* and 
eighty- three of his clergy were enrolled together. There were 
three great provincial meetings for Leinster, Connaught, and 
Munster ; at the Leinster meeting, which was held near Kil- 
kenny in October, 1840, a quarter of a million of persons were 
computed to be present. John O'Connell occupied the chair. 
It was a grave autumnal day ; there was a quiet beauty in the 
fertile, undulating landscape, with the city in the middle dis- 
* Right Rev. Dr. Foran, Bishop of Waterford. 



IRELAND AND HER AGJTATOPwS. 



168 



tance, the proud towers of the Ormonds rising high above the 
mass of city buildings, and the hills of Mount Leiuster and 
Blackstairs in the far horizon. The muster was a noble display, 
and was distinguished, like all the other meetings for Repeal, 
by that rigid observance of decorum, preservation of the peace, 
and perfect sobriety, which no great popular gatherings of 
similar extent in any other nation could exhibit. 

Father Mathew's movement was essentially useful to Repeal. 
By withdrawing the'people from the odious and stultifying vice 
of inebriety, it raised them in the intellectual scale. Freed 
from the degrading influences of intoxication, they were the 
better enabled to think and to reason. A reasoning, thinking 
people are not destined to slavery. The arguments in favour 
of Repeal come so home to the common sense of Irishmen, 
that it needs only to rescue the people from habits of intem- 
perance to convert the impulsive and unreasoning shout for 
liberty into a calculating, sagacious, and well-sustained struggle 
for legislative independence. The enemies of Ireland, both 
domestic and English, saw this ; and accordingly the Tem- 
perance Movement was made the object of ferocious vitupera- 
tion. It is amusing to look back at some few of the exploits 
of the anti-temperance party. Religious fanaticism was of 
course pressed into the service of drunkenness. A parson 
named Whitty refused to grant to Father Mathew the use of 
the Rock of Cashel to accommodate his postulants, alleging 
that " temperance was of the devil."* Another clergyman 
named Edgar, residing in the diocese of Deny, declared in a 
letter to Mr. Buckingham the ex-member for Sheffield, that 
" teetotalism was highly insulting to the majesty of God 
at the same time expressing his fears that Mr. Buckingham 
was infected with the disease in its w T orst form. The Rev. Mr. 
Sewell, of Oxford, wrote an article in the Quarterly Review en- 
titled " Romanism in Ireland asserting therein that super- 
stition was the chief agency of the Temperance Movement, 
and murder its ultimate object. 

Passing from the high priests of Inebriety to its profaner 
organs, the Protestant Magazine for June, 1841, complacently 
quoted from the congenial Times the following awful passage : 
u We cannot but suspect that this temperance movement is, 
substantially, a sort of Trojan horse, within whose ribs there 
lurks an overwhelming phalanx, which some of these nights 
will sally on the sleeping sentinels of Ireland and make it an 
easy prey." 

* Morning Chronicle, 27th April, 1841. f Ibid* 



164 



IRELAND AND ITER AGITATORS. 



The Ulster Orangemen were at all events resolved that they 
should not be caught, napping. At Loughgall, a number of 
Orange farmers entered into a resolution that they would not 
employ any labourers who had taken the temperance pledge. 
In other places there were anti-temperance riots, especially at 
Newtownhamilton and Lurgan. The Orangemen apparently 
were not satisfied with the privilege of getting drunk, unless 
they could deprive their neighbours of the privilege of pledging 
themselves to sobriety. The Cootehill Orangemen published 
a manifesto, redolent of the choicest inspirations of the Orange 
divinity, exhorting the Protestants to oppose the entrance of 
Father Mathew into their district, where he purposed to ad- 
minister the pledge. The document, having first adverted to 
the priest's threatened advent, proceeded thus : " Insulted 
Protestants ! will ye, can ye, bear it any longer ? Has the 
spirit of your fathers, and immortal William, died within you ? 

Arouse ! be steady and courageous ! Let not 

the religion* of your fathers be trampled upon by idolators ! 
Let the spirit of William, that whispers to you at this moment, 
animate your hearts and souls, and let not the antichristian 
apostle depart from Cootehill in boasted triumph. 

' Arise, I say, arise my beys, and raise your standard high ; 

The man that will not join you now, treat as an enemy ; 
Fear not O'Connell — Mathew — Devil! but let your motto be, 
To put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry. 
Remember Gideon's chosen few ; 
The arm that guarded them guards you.' " 

This delirious melange of politics, bigotry, and truculence, 
demonstrates the fatal success with which the Whittys and 
Edgars had instilled into their followers a virulent hostility to 
national amelioration. The Divine^assistance is invoked by 
the Cootehill devotees to preserve their drunken licence. The 
arm that guarded Gideon's chosen few is expected to guard 
the Orange bacchanals from the fatal invasion of temperance. 
At a later period, however/the spirit of the North became im- 
proved. Leading men of all political shades looked with 
favour upon temperance ; and as virtues are gregarious, the 
same result which attended the success of Father Mathew's 
movement in the South also marked its progress in the North. 
As morality and sobriety advanced, nationality kept pace with 
them. Let the mere enthusiast, whether Orangeman or Re- 
pealer, forswear his drunken orgies ; the latter will become a 

* Query, the whiskey bottle ? 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



165 



more zealous, because a more enlightened and intelligent sup- 
porter of national liberty ; the former will be led to inquire 
whether that which is manifestly good for Ireland can be bad 
for himself. The result of this inquiry will make him a Re- 
pealer. 

The agitation for Repeal went on, sometimes in places 
which conjured up interesting historical associations. A Re- 
peal meeting was held at Carrick-on-Suir, which was followed 
by a pnblic dinner, presided over by a Protestant gentleman, 
Mr. Power. The dinner took place in an apartment at the 
top of the principal inn. I was told that many persons had 
wished to obtain a room in the castle of Carrick-on-Suir for 
the festivity ; but a fear lest Lord Ormond, the proprietor of 
the castle, might visit with his vengeance the gentleman who 
rented the old building as tenant-at-will, induced the managers 
of the dinner to select the less commodious apartment in the 
hotel. 

I chanced that day to be at Carrick, and I walked to see 
the old castle. It is beautifully situated in a secluded lawn 
overhanging the Suir, at the distance of a few hundred yards 
from the eastern end of the town. I could not ascertain the 
elate of the older, or castellated portion of the edifice : the 
more modern part was erected by Thomas Butler, Earl of 
Ormond, in 1565, which date is displayed on the wall of the 
hall ; on which, likewise, there is a rude fresco representing 
Queen Elizabeth, with the initials E. R. On the opposite wall 
there is another fresco representing the founder, who is said 
by the tradition of the castle to have found favour as a lover 
with that princess. The tradition found its way into France, 
and the family of Lord Galmoye is stated, in a French genea- 
logical work, to descend from her Majesty and her Irish ad- 
mirer. In Burke's Peerage and Baronetage for 1830, the fol- 
lowing very curious notice of the Galmoye family is extracted 
from the " Dictionaire de la Noblesse," published at Paris in 
1771, 2nd edition, tome iii. : 

" 6 Le comte Thomas de Butler dit le noir, quelques annees 
apres etre alle en Angleterre, envoya en Irlande un jeune 
enfant portant son nom, et deja cve6 Lord Viscomte de Gal- 
moye. II est certain (dit le Memoire envoye sur lequel nous 
avons dresse cette geriealogie) que le comte le reconnoissoit 
pour son fils, et la tradition veut que la reine Elizabeth fut sa 
mere; e'est de cet enfant que descendoit milord de Galmoye, 
mort a Paris en 1740, lieut. general des armees du roi, cre'e' 
comte de Newcastle en France par le roi Jacques II. , dont il 



166 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



etait premier gentilhomme de la chambre,' &c. A tradition 
of the same import prevails in the Irish branch of the family." 

The curious old mansion founded by " Black Tom Butler" 
is still habitable.* Its front presents a long row of gables in 
the fashion of Elizabethan manor-houses, with a large oriel 
window over the porch. Its large deserted chambers are just 
such as spectral personages might readily honour with their 
visits. I accordingly asked if the house was haunted, and 
was told by the person who showed it, that in the days of the 
Ormonds a ghost had been constantly there — a utilitarian 
ghost, apparently ; for he used to officiate as volunteer shoe- 
black, and to discharge other duties of domestic labour. 

The largest apartments are in the upper storey. There is a 
noble drawingroom about sixty feet long, which contains two 
decorated chimneys Whatever be the worth of the Galmoye 
tradition, old " Tom Butler," as the guide familiarly called 
him, was anxious to record his devotion to Elizabeth ; and 
this he has done by the frequent repetition of her Majesty's 
initials and arms in the quaint stucco ornaments of the ceiling. 
There is another spacious room on the same floor, with an 
oriel overlooking the river. 

I was inclined to regret that Mr. O'Connell was not enter- 
tained in this old stronghold of the Butlers. The old walls 
speak eloquently to the imagination. There would have bee i 
a romantic interest in beholding the great advocate of Irish 
legislative independence working out his mighty task in the de- 
serted residence of one of the most powerful of the Norman- 
Irish families ; enforcing the right of Ireland to. self govern- 
ment in the ancient halls of Elizabeth's favourite, who per- 
formed his share of the duty of riveting the English chain 
upon his country ;f in those halls which at a later period, were 
the habitation of James, Duke of Ormond, who exercised such 
a potent influence, partly for good, but more for evil, on the 
destinies of Ireland, 

I lingered until twilight in the castle. The echo of the 

* 1842. I have not seen it since. 

f Thomas Butler, the founder of the Elizabethan part of Carrick-on- 
Suir Castle, was the tenth Earl of Ormond, and died there in his 88th 
year, in 1614. He was great-uncle to James, the celebrated Duke of 
Ormond, who often mentioned his recollection of his aged relative, as " a 
blind old man, having a long beard, and wearing his George about his 
neck whether he sat up in his chair or lay down in his bed/' In 1632, 
James made a journey from London to Carrick, which, even according to 
modern ideas, seems a rapid one. On a Saturday morning in September, 
he left London, and rode post to Acton, within eight miles of Bristol. At 



IRELAND AND ITER AGITATORS. 



107 



closing doors sounded weirdly and solemn through the dusky 
chambers ; it came upon the ear like the voice of ages past. 
The guide bore in his hand the ponderous old keys, which, to 
judge from their great size and rude workmanship, might have 
been coeval with the edifice itself. When I reached the lawn, 
I turned to look once more on the venerable pile reposing in 
its solitude and silence, and then retraced my steps to the 
town. 

At the Repeal dinner, O'Connell said, u I am often asked 
how I can expect to obtain Repeal from the imperial parlia- 
ment when I have not been able to obtain minor benefits. I 
answer this question by reminding the querists that upon the 
minor advantages I sought, I have not been supported by the 
whole Irish people ; whereas the Repeal agitation accumulates 
around me their entire strength. Minor objects were not of 
sufficient importance to enlist their full energies. The eagle 
does not catch flies. The eagle spirit of Ireland soars above 
these individual advantages, and perches on the lofty pedestal 
of national independence." He proceeded to predict the cer- 
tain attainment of Repeal, so soon as universal Ireland should 
be actively aroused in its behalf; and he then, in a strain of 
fervid eloquence, described the long perspective of Irish pros- 
perity which he expected to result from that measure. 

Carrick had its own sad experience of decay since the Union, 
there having been prior to that measure a thriving woollen-trade 
in the town and its immediate vicinity, giving bread to about 
5,000 persons ; whereas now* there is but partial employment 
for about 100 persons there. 

Go where they would, the Repeal agitators had the dismal 
and terrible advantage of being able to point to the surround- 
ing crowds instances of decay with which their local expe- 
rience was familiar — practical fulfilments of John Foster's me- 
morable words, " Where the parliament is, there will the 
manufacturer be also," In Limerick there had been before 
the Union over a thousand woollen-weavers ; the number had 

eight next morning he sailed from Bristol to Waterford in a vessel called 
the Ninth Whelp, and at nine o'clock a.m. on Monday, they ran up to 
Waterford, whence his lordship immediately took horse for Carrick, which 
is distant from Waterford only sixteen miles. 

Henry Hyde, second Earl of Clarendon, in a letter to Lord Rochester, 
dated in 1686, says of this old seat: " Carrick, an ancient seat helonging 
to the Duke of Ormond, is, I think, one of the prettiest places I ever saw 
in my life." — Clarendon's Letters, London, 1828. 

* 1844. 



168 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS, 



shrunk into less than seventy.* In Bandon — Protestant Ban- 
don — there had been before the Union a flourishing manu- 
facture of camlets, cords, and stuffs. That trade had all but 
vanished ; the only branch of the woollen manufacture remain- 
ing there when our Repeal missions were organized, being that 
of frieze for the peasantry. And similar decay had widely 
overspread the land on all sides. 

The Viceroy, Lord Ebrington, now made an effort to arrest 
the progress of Eepeal by announcing that no member of the 
Repeal Association should be appointed to any office in the 
gift of the government. This declaration necessarily scared 
all the place-hunters from joining the movement, and thus 
preserved it from the adhesion of a good deal of rascality. 
Lord Ebrington's threat was undignified, but not unnatural. 
He probably thought that as the Union was originally carried 
by bribery, Repeal could best be averted by bribing men 
through their hopes of office to refrain from junction with the 
agitators. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

" Arouse thee, youth ! it is no idle call ; 
Our rights are leaguered — haste to man the wall ; 
Haste where the old green banner waves on high, 
Signal of honoured death, or victory." 

Among the public men who played fast and loose on the 
question of Repeal was Mr. Sharman Crawford. That gentle- 
man had ably and persistently advocated the cause of the 
Irish tenant-farmer, and had, by his advocacy, acquired wide 
and merited popularity. He denounced the crimes committed 
against the people by exterminating landlords, and contended 
for the system of small farms, which, he said, could be worked 
with a profit to the tenant by the application of increased skill 
in cultivation, while the landlord would possess full security 
for his rent in the value enjoyed by the tenant. 

O'Conneil expected that Crawford would assist the Repeal 
agitation — an expectation which was not unreasonable, for 

* Since the first edition of this work was printed, Mr. Tait, an invalu- 
able citizen of Limerick, has conferred great benefits on that city by es- 
tablishing a large factory, which extensively furnishes clothes to the depart- 
ments of police and military, and employs at good wages a large number 
of hands. 

For copious and authentic details of the general decay, see Mr. Secre- 
tary Ray's admirable " Report on the Disastrous Effects of the Union on 
the Woollen, Silk, and Cotton Manufactures." 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



1G9 



Crawford, in 1833, had published a pamphlet entitled, " The 
Expediency and Necessity of a Local Legislative Body in Ire- 
land, supported by a Reference to Facts and Principles." In 
page 27 of that pamphlet, its author says : " Sad experience 
now proves to Ireland, as on former occasions, that England's 
freedom is Ireland's slavery ; that England's prosperity only 
dooms Ireland to a more depressed state of misery and political 
degradation. She finds the same abuses retained — the same 
disregard of her complaints ; and what renders the case still 
more hopeless is the general apathy and indifference of the 
British nation, and the worse than indifference of the Scotch, 
towards matters connected with Irish policy." 

At page 53, speaking of the reformed parliament of England, 
Mr. Crawford asks, " Have not the proceedings of that par- 
liament forced a conviction on many of the most attached 
friends of British connexion, that the union of the nations can 
only be upheld by the separation of the parliaments ?" 

These extracts afford a fair sample of the general spirit of 
Mr. Crawford's pamphlet. But on the revival, by O'Connell, 
of the agitation for Repeal, Mr. Crawford ranged himself 
among the anti-Repealers. In October, 1841, he published 
" Observations addressed to the Repealers of Ireland," in 
which he declared that he would not be " a party to a delusive 
agitation." He recommended, instead of the pursuit of Re- 
peal, that the Irish should unite with " the aggrieved and 
unrepresented classes in England and Scotland" in demanding 
a new' distribution and equalisation of electoral districts all 
over the United Kingdom. He denied that it was possible 
for Ireland to possess an independent parliament in connexion 
with the British crown. And he censured the patriots of 1782 
for establishing " a nominally independent" Irish parliament, 
instead of seeking a federative connexion with England on the 
American principle. 

Mr. Crawford's attacks on the Repealers had a wide circu- 
lation. The task of reply was entrusted to me. My answers 
went the round of the Repeal press in Ireland, and were pub- 
lished as a pamphlet both in Dublin and Belfast. As long as 
O'Connell lived, Mr. Crawford retained his attitude of hostility ; 
but after the death of O'Connell he publicly joined the Pro- 
testant Repeal Association which had been instituted at Bel- 
fast, recanted his imperialism, and declared his assent to the 
principles of 1782. But I must not anticipate. 

Hitherto the agitation, although occupying the minds of the 
people, and engaging much of their support, had not been 

8 



170 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



efficiently organized. To supply this defect, and at the same 
time to inculcate the principle of nationality in the various 
rural districts, it was now deemed advisable to send mission- 
aries through the land. The persons selected by the Com- 
mittee of the Association to discharge this arduous duty were 
Mr. John O'Connell, third son of the Liberator, who was 
appointed Repeal Director for Connaught ; Mr. Ray, the secre- 
tary of the Association ; and myself. I was appointed Repeal 
Director for Leinster. 

On the 12th September, 1842, we left Dublin for our seve- 
ral routes. Mr. Ray proceeded to Limerick, Munster having 
been assigned as the district of his labours. As John O'Con- 
nell's route and mine for the first and second day lay in the 
same direction, we travelled together in the canal boat to 
Mullingar. At that town we waited on the Right Rev. Dr. 
Cantwell, the Bishop of the diocese, who promised his cordial 
co-operation to the cause in which we were engaged. Next 
day we proceeded to Ballymahon, where the Bishop of Ardagh 
had invited a large party of his clergy to meet us. There was 
much grave and earnest discussion on the subject of the move- 
ment. The Prelate pledged himself that all the influence he 
possessed should be placed at the disposal of the Repeal 
Association. The Bishop of Meath had given a similar pledge, 
and nobly were their promises redeemed. 

Without the active co-operation of the Irish priesthood, the 
Repeal cause could never have acquired the commanding posi- 
tion it soon began to occupy. It is not uninteresting to trace 
the gradation of its progress in the rural districts. Three 
men, animated with the most ardent desire to promote na- 
tional freedom, travelled from town to town, from parish to 
parish. They solicited and obtained the hearty and powerful 
support of the priests. They assembled their countrymen in 
the market place, in the church, on the bleak hill- side ; they 
told in plain and energetic language the story of England's 
crime and Ireland's degradation ; they enumerated the grind- 
ing wrongs, the oppressions, and the robberies inflicted on 
the ill-starred land, which in losing the power of self-govern- 
ment had lost the power of self-defence; they asked their 
countrymen whether this national dishonour should continue ? 
whether the Irish people should not stretch forth their hands 
to seize and to fashion into strength the rich elements of 
power and prosperity that everywhere lay scattered around ? 
They made it a personal question to each individual ; they 
charged it home upon the conscience of each, whether he 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



171 



would be a guilty partaker, by his criminal apathy, in the 
wrongs inflicted by England on his country ? They asked, 

u Could the wrong'd realm no arms supply, 
But the abject tear and the slavish sigh ?" 

They stirred into energetic life the slumbering spirit of old 
nationhood; they awakened the political sleeper from his trance. 
Repeal began to be a gathering shout in many a district that 
had long dozed on in torpid inactivity. The connexions of 
the central institute in Dublin were extended through the 
land. The pulsations of the heart began to be felt at the 
extremities ; and the question soon exhibited in the different 
rural districts a vitality and vigour which astonished the 
whole tribe of anti-Irish gentlemen with wooden heads and 
stony hearts — men whose diseased and stunted intellects were 
perfectly incapable of regarding any great public question ex- 
cept through the medium of the narrowest, the paltriest pre- 
judice. 

It was in the rural dwellings of the clergy that the question 
was now efficiently worked. In the priest's humble home a 
power was being organized which was destined, as we fondly 
hoped, to make tyranny reel in high places. And how simple 
the process ! how easy the details ! Look at that anxious, 
thoughtful group gathered round the pastor's table. The 
shutters are closed ; the candles lighted ; the faggot blazes 
brightly on the hearth ; " the autumn breeze's bugle sound" 
is heard from without ; it has swept from the hills, and its 
wild voice awakens in the heart a mystic thrill for freedom. 
The priest tells his guest the effective strength of the dis- 
trict, availing himself, in the detail, of the local information 
possessed by the parishioners, or the neighbouring clergy 
who have assembled at his house. It is then ascertained who 
will work ; who will undertake the duty of Repeal Warden ; 
who will collect the Repeal rent ; and who will assume the 
charge of particular ploughlands, if in the country, or wards, 
if in a town. The obstacles are also canvassed ; the hostility 

of Lord So-and-So, or of Captain , his agent, who swears 

he will eject every tenant that gives sixpence to any of 
O'Connell's devices. Or perhaps there is the anti-Irish 
Catholic landlord — a greater scourge than the Orange pro- 
prietor — who, since shuffling off his penal coil in 1829, has 
affected the courtier and fine gentleman, and conceives that 
he establishes his claim to aristocratic distinction by mimick- 
ing the tyranny of those by whom his creed is denounced as 
satanic ; the supple slave of Tory squires ; the petty tyrant of 



172 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



his village, who redeems the vulgarity of going to Mass by 
the seventy with which he grinds the unfortunate tenantry 
who go there along with him. To elude the spiteful vigilance 
of this most execrable class is a problem which engages the 
attention of our coterie. The problem is easily solved. What 
needs Squire A. or Lord B. know about the tenants' contri- 
butions ? A discreet warden, who can be silent when occasion 
requires, is appointed to receive their subscriptions ; so that 
matter is settled. Then speculations arise respecting the 
possible adhesion of men whose countenance would be advan- 
tageous ; they are alleged to have uttered very national senti- 
ments on certain occasions ; could they now be got to realise 
their patriotic declarations ? 

Having arranged all these practical matters and set the 
agitation in a working train, the missionary next inquires 
respecting the past and present state of trade, and the social 
condition of the people in the district. The information thus 
elicited is painful. It reveals the national decay and the 
popular destitution. Nearly all over Leinster, the linen 
trade — once the great staple — is now only a memory. The 
inquirer finds that in the immediate vicinity of Clara in the 
King's county, capital amounting to at least £150,000 had 
been invested in that trade, which is now extinct in that 
locality. The old men who have joined the priest's party tell 
the visitor that prior to the Union they remember from forty 
to fifty head of cattle killed at Christmas by the villagers and 
farmers, who could then afford to eat beef ; whereas now, in- 
stead of forty or fifty, not half-a-dozen Christmas cows are 
consumed by the impoverished people.* At Mullingar he 
hears there had been a flourishing linen trade before the 
Union, and that it is now gone. At Athlone that trade gave 
bread to from 4,000 to 5,000 persons prior to the Union. 
There is now no linen trade at Athlone ; but there is a large 
poorhouse there. The country around Banagher, Ferbane, 
Ballycumber, and Cloghan had once been covered over with 
the linen manufacture. The visitor is told that it has shared 
the same fate as at Athlone and Mullingar — extinction. 

The numerous deserted mansions, formerly the seats of 
splendid hospitality, but now decaying from the neglect of 
their absentee owners, also form a painful item in the mis- 
sionary's information. 

On one point a great unanimity prevails — namely, that alj 

* See Appendix for some remarks of John O'Connell on this point. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



173 



these evils, and nearly all other grievances affecting the coun- 
try, have their source either remotely or immediately in the 
denial to Ireland of the power of making her own laws, and 
in the anti-national, anti -Irish spirit which the Union has in- 
fused into the aristocracy.* 

Such are the topics that occupy the group in the priest's 
parlour. 

At the Repeal meeting next day, the thousands who as- 
semble round the missionary drink in his words with an eager- 
ness that evinces the depth and fervour with which they are 
ready to fling themselves into the constitutional strife. They 
exhibit intellectual quickness in their just and accurate per- 
ception of the points brought before them by the speakers. 
Their appreciation of the arguments addressed to them is 
clear and instantaneous. They evince this mental power by 
the judicious mode in which they cheer, or otherwise testify 
the impression made upon their minds. A striking and 
honourable feature in the national character is also developed 
at these gatherings — namely, the profound reverence the Irish 
people entertain for religion. If the name of the Deity be 
pronounced, every hat is raised. If the Divine blessing be 
invoked on Ireland — if the speaker expresses his reliance on 
the protection of Providence for the ultimate success of the 
movement, and the consequent greatness and happiness of the 
land, there follows a deep murmur of reverential acquiescence 
from the multitude ; there is an earnestness of voice, gesture, 
and countenance which demonstrates how intense is the re- 
liance of the Irish people on the overruling care of their 
God. 

There cannot be a more interesting occupation than that of 
the Repeal missionary. He penetrates into retired rural dis- 
tricts ; he mingles with the people ; he learns from personal 
inquiry and actual observation to know their condition more 
truly than if he had trusted for his information to the mon- 

* Among the aristocracy, as among all other classes, there are of 
course varieties of individual character — good, evil, and middling. It is 
not therefore as a type of the whole, nor even of many, that I specify a 
fungus lord, whose father got a step in the peerage for supporting the 
Union ; whose red, round, unmeaning face was a faithful index of the 
mental stolidity of the sensual bon-vivant ; whose corpulent person v. as 
encased in stays and padded garments to supply, so far as possible, the 
symmetry denied by nature ; a bloated, superannuated fop ; the scourge 
of Catholic tenants ; a frequenter of brothels ; yet sometimes caught as a 
prize by flunkey parsons to preside at what they termed their religious 
meetings. 



174 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS, 



strous fallacies of Spring Rice and Montgomery Martin.* He 
finds that condition grievously deteriorated since the time 
when Arthur Young wrote his " Tour in Ireland. 19 In enlarg- 
ing his acquaintance with his countrymen, he augments his 
indignant horror at their wrongs, and his zealous devotion to 
their service. 

The Catholic chapels and the abodes of the priests often 
afford interesting mementos of the penal days. In the more 
remote parishes the house of the pastor is sometimes a 
thatched cabin adjoining the chapel, which is also thatched ; 
both nestling in the nook of a hill, or in some retired situation 
which seems to evidence that concealment from observation 
was an object with the founder. In the chapel is the old, 
rough, unpainted wood-work ; there are the deal benches* 
rails, and altar, clumsy in their construction, and brown from 
age ; the rude, whitewashed walls, the decaying windows^ 
the simple roof that has sheltered the worshipper for four 
generations from the inclemency of the weather. On the 
altar is the tiny saering-bell, which has tinkled perhaps for a 
century to announce the " Canon," the " Elevation," and 
the " Agnus Dei." Relics are these of the dark time of 
Catholic depression — relics which, notwithstanding their 
humble appearance in modern estimation, were doubtless in 
their day the source of modest pride and triumph to the 
priests and the flocks who had been accustomed to celebrate 
their worship in the glen or on the plain, beneath the chill 
blasts of winter or the scorching sun of summer. To them, a 
roof, however rude, under which to adore their Creator was 
indeed a luxurious novelty. Then the priest's cabin, a tene- 
ment containing four miserable closets, two bed-rooms, a par- 
lour, and a kitchen. 

In wet weather the Repealers sometimes got the use of the 
chapels for their meetings. The rude old walls, which had 
witnessed the timid orisons of a persecuted flock in penal 
days, now echoed to the proud and joyous voice of reviving 
nationality. 

These remnants of a former period contrast strongly with 
the spacious and substantial churches raised within the last 
few years by the voluntary subscriptions of the people. The 
Catholic clergy in the wealthier parishes now reside in excel- 
lent and comfortable houses. The traveller is forcibly im- 

* Mr. Staunton, formerly proprietor of the Dublin Register, produced 
a trenchant castigation of this impudent quack, in a pamphlet published 
at the expense of the Repeal Association. 



IRELAND AND HKR AGITATORS. 



175 



pressed with the contrast between the past and the present. 
He sees in its obvious moral a powerful evidence of the fidelity 
with which the Irish people adhered under persecution to the 
faith which they deemed the best, and of the pious zeal with 
which, when disenthralled from penal shackles, they have 
reared temples to the worship of the Most High God. He 
sees in it also an evidence of the efficacy of the Voluntary 
System in support of religious establishments. Small indivi- 
dual contributions from a numerous population can, without 
severe pressure upon anyone, produce great results. 

The missionaries forwarded to the Association weekly re- 
ports of their progress. Mr. Ray especially turned his atten- 
tion to the condition of the peasantry ; and from one of his 
reports I extract the following passages descriptive of the 
wretchedness endured by the poorer inhabitants of Charleville, 
county Cork : 

" At the meeting on Sunday," says Mr. Ray, "the Rev. 
Mr. Meagher mentioned a most revolting case of destitu- 
tion connected with this subject, occasioned by the head of a 
family being thrown out of employment. He was a check- 
weaver, of sober, industrious habits, but reduced to such a 
state, that after having parted with every article to suppon 
nature, his wife actually perished for want ; her helpless babee 
were lying beside their dead mother unconscious of their 
loss — the unfortunate man himself in agonized bewilderment. 
In this condition the Rev. Mr. Meagher found them on 
Christmas day. Innumerable appalling cases here and else- 
where might be added of the effects of that fatal act which 
robbed Ireland of her industrial occupations, and her people of 
their spirit and nationality. 

" Immediately adjoining Mr. Dudley's in the town, there is 
a row of wretched cabins ; these were formerly the happy re- 
sidences of busy inmates. They are erected on a plot of ground 
held originally by lease for lives under the Earl of Cork (an 
absentee nobleman). I understand the lessee, some years 
since, consigned the occupying tenants to his lordship, the 
rents being applotted on their respective holdings. One of the 
cabins is held by a widow named Dalton ; that and the ad- 
joining one were erected by her late husband — the rent £2 
a-year. The roof was blown off the latter cabin at the great 
storm last January, and so it remains. The other is so dila- 
pidated that the rain pours all through. Next to this is one 
held by Widow Meehan, at 7s. lOd. per year, almost roofless 
and utterly untenantable ; her son-in-law died, leaving his 



170 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



wife and an infant, now two years old, an incumbrance upon 
the poor widow. They are supported chiefly by charity ; she 
told me that she had to pawn her bed-clothes last year to pay 
the rent, and was never since able to release them, and that 
she wished she had them now to pawn again, for the pre- 
sent year's rent is due. A man named Clifden held another of 
these cabins and a small plot at £1 15s. a-year. He is a 
labourer at 6d. a-day when he can get work. The surviving 
life in the original lease was supposed to have died a couple of 
years since, and possession was taken of the entire range under 
ejectment process. The day this occurred, Clifden had the 
roof partly stripped, and was in the act of repairing it with new 
thatch. They had, of course, to quit, and this roof was also 
blown off by the wind. It was presently discovered that the 
life in the lease was in being (as the respected lady is still) 
and the tenants were allowed to continue ; but this man with 
a wife and a number of young children had to hire a miserable 
cabin at the end of the town, and he is liable to the two rents. 
The very next hut is still worse : the roof of this was also 
blown down by the 6 great storm;' it is held by John Molony, 
labourer, at 15s. a-year ; it is exactly twelve feet square ; the 
clay walls about six feet high. The poor man made a sort of 
covering from the old sticks and thatch of the fallen roof, but 
from its flatness totally incapable of resisting the wet. I 
found his wife and five of his children huddled together in a 
corner of this hut, scarcely covered with a few loathsome rags ; 
the youngest was in her arms, the two next had only dirty 
coarse tattered bibs, the others little better; the two elder 
boys were out helping their father to dig, &e. This was on 
Tuesday last ; the two preceding nights had been most wet 
and inclement, and this unhappy family could get no rest, as 
there was not a dry spot they could lie on. I observed the 
remains of an old deal bedstead in a corner, with as much 
broken straw and rags as would make a bed for a dog ; the 
floor under it, and indeed through the entire, in a complete 
bog with wet. I asked, was that where they slept ? The 
woman said, * Aye, is it.' ' Have the entire family no other 
sleeping-place ?' said I. ' None other.' I could ask no fur- 
ther questions. They were standing round two or three sods 
of half-burned turf 3 trying to dry their rags ; it was so, in fact, 
with the rest. I did not see in all those places together as 
much as would equal one" good fire. This poor woman told 
me that up to two months ago the elder children used to attend 
the school, but were now too naked to go there 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



177 



11 I have given but a sample of what is prevalent everywhere 
about the towns and in the rural districts. * They starve 
themselves,' said an intelligent man to me, 1 to feed the pigs 
for the rents.' It is impossible to witness these things with- 
out deep sensation." 

Mr. Ray also furnished a report upon the fallen condition 
of Bandon ; but instead of quoting from it, I shall give the 
following memorandum, which was kindly communicated to 
me by William Connor Sullivan, Esq., a gentleman who 
exhibits the practical patriotism of employing sixty persons in 
a factory he has established in Bandon in connexion with his 
tanning trade, and who, if he could depend on sufficient sup- 
port, would make an effort to re-establish the cotton mill at 
Overton near that town. Here is his memorandum : " In 
1825, the population of Bandon was 14,000, according to 
Lewis — of these, 7,000 persons were supported by the manu- 
facture of linen, woollen, ticken, and corduroys, or cotton. In 
18G1, according to the census, the population had fallen to 
6,100. The Overton mills, which gave employment to 2,000 
persons, have been long since abandoned, the trade gone, and 
the buildings dilapidated." 

When some instances of Irish poverty, suffering, and decay 
were once mentioned in the English House of Lords, the late 
Duke of Wellington observed that it would not mend the mut- 
ter to set up a parliament in Ireland ; because there was also 
deep misery in England, which country did actually enjoy the 
residence of the legislature. " There is a parliament in Eng- 
land ; there is also misery there ; therefore seek not the Re- 
peal of the Union." 

There will be a mixture of poverty in every human society 
until the end of time. " The poor you have always with 
you."* But the Duke's argument implies that the numbers 
of the poor and the intensity of their privations are not di- 
minished by the presence of the wealthy, and are not increased 
by withdrawing from amongst them the great source of ex- 
penditure. It is also to be noticed that when his Grace used 
that argument, a good deal of the misery existing in England 
was directly traceable to the Irish poverty caused by the 
Union. The poorer Irish, having no manufactures to employ 
their surplus hands at home, emigrated in shoals to England, 
where they lowered the wages of labour in the English market, 
and frequently dragged down the English operative to the 
level of their own wretchedness. Had his Grace remembered 
* Matt. xxvi. 11. 



178 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



this, he would perhaps have doubted the soundness of his 
anti-Repeal inference from the distress existing in certain Eng- 
lish districts. 

Every political quack will supply his own nostrum. The 
social diseases of Ireland are admitted on all hands. You can 
scarcely find any man of any party who does not laugh to 
scorn Spring Kice's " giant-stride prosperity." It was avail- 
able to call down a parliamentary cheer, and for a parlia- 
mentary pretext for opposing Eepeal ; but it was the very 
hyperbole of audacious falsehood ; it was too monstrous to 
endure in the real conviction of any human being. The social 
diseases, I repeat, are admitted on all hands. The condition 
of Ireland is proverbially anomalous. There is the startling 
incongruity of an anti-Irish aristocracy enlisted against the 
just rights of the masses of the people. There is a vast 
ecclesiastical property which belongs to the whole nation, and 
which is feloniously absorbed by a small minority for their 
own benefit. There is a rich proprietary hating the land 
whence their w r ealth, their rank, and their social status are 
exclusively derived. There is a soil proverbial for its fertility, 
yet inhabited by the yearly diminishing remnants of a people 
whose poverty is declared by travellers to exceed all they ever 
had witnessed of human destitution elsewhere. There is pro- 
ductive power, which, if developed, and its fruits retained at 
home, could support in comfort a larger population than ever 
inhabited the island ; yet which either lies waste, or else is 
diverted from its natural and legitimate purpose — the support 
of the Irish people — to swell the wealth and greatness of the 
neighbouring nation that has struck its fangs into our vitals. 
There is the spectacle of a people who, when plucked bare by 
the Union drains of many years, and crushed to the dust by 
famine, were, just at that juncture, made the subject of new 
and enormous taxation to liquidate the liabilities of wealthy 
England. 

That all this leaven should not powerfully work for dis- 
affection, no rational man could expect. We have various 
nostrums recommended by a multitude of political physicians. 
But it is not the absentee legislator, nor the cold, utilitarian 
political economist, nor the clever political speculator who can 
string together flippant paragraphs, nor the Cockney tourist 
who posts through Ireland to construct a marketable book 
from the salient traits which appear on the surface of society — 
it is not one of these who can prescribe, or even comprehend 
an adequate remedy. They have not the requisite knowledge 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



179 



of the people ; and if they had, they have not the hearty sym- 
pathies which are indispensable to render that knowledge 
available. Cold, self-sufficient dogmatizers too many of them 
are, viewing all that they see (and how little is that all!) 
through the medium of preconceived political theories, nine- 
tenths of which are inapplicable to the condition of the 
country. 

He whose intercourse with the people has been extensive 
and prolonged ; who has mingled with his fellow-countrymen 
on terms of the most unreserved mutual confidence ; who has 
seen the struggles of the oppressed against the tyranny that 
would grind them into powder ; who has witnessed the anxious 
heavings of the nation's breast ; who knows the intense sin- 
cerity and unalterable determination with which his com- 
patriots are actuated ; who witnesses the persevering efforts of 
the anti-Irish class to prevent the disenthralment of the 
people from their bondage ; he who has seen the pernicious 
antagonism of the two great sections of the Irish nation, is 
compelled to trace the origin of Irish evils to English influence 
operating through an alien legislature and exclusive institu- 
tions, and to recognize in the Repeal of the Union the only 
possible cure for the social disease — the only certain guaran- 
tee against relapse. 

It is manifest that exclusive political institutions could not, 
in the present day, survive the restoration of the Irish legis- 
lature. The class who are now infected with a vicious hatred 
of their country would then become nationalised in spite of 
themselves. They could not help it. The preponderating 
pressure of the national sentiment, having a legislature for 
its organ, would overcome their resistance. Their prejudices 
would be swept away in the national torrent. They would, 
despite some contortions and grimaces, be made auxiliary to 
the national prosperity and greatness. They would be at last 
amalgamated with the great mass of Irishmen. 

Nothing short of the Repeal of the Union can fulfil the 
requirements of Ireland. Imagine every minor boon conceded 
that the most liberal Whig-Radical could proffer ; imagine 
tithes abolished, the franchises enlarged, the representation 
extended, the magistracy popularised, tenant-right conceded ; 
yet, so long as Ireland possessed no parliament, we should 
depend upon the will of another nation for the continuance of 
those advantages ; we should still have England's robber-hand 
in our pockets, abstracting our money for her own uses under 
the pretext of imperial identification ; we should still be ini- 



180 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



poverished by the drain of an absentee rental, computed to be 
at present four millions a-year ; our people would still be 
driven as if with flaming swords out of their own country by 
the colossal plunder of the means that should circulate at 
home for their support ; we should still be subjected to a 
system devised to substitute cattle and sheep for the human 
inhabitants of Ireland ; we should still remain degraded by 
the absence of that privilege without which man is a despised 
slave — the uncontrolled management of our own country for 
ourselves. Thus, if England were to give us everything else, 
yet so long as she withheld from us our parliament, we should 
be deprived of that which were far more valuable than all the 
rest put together. 

The instinct of nationality cannot be rooted out of the Irish 
mind ; if its eradication were practicable it would have been 
long since effected. "What, let us ask, is that instinct ? What 
are its lessons ? Here are the words of an authority who 
will at any rate be respected by many who are not well-wishers 
to Ireland : 

" It is by virtue of a providential design that the human 
species is found distributed in groups distinct by race and 
language, and established in certain definite territories, where 
each has contracted a certain unity of tendencies and of insti- 
tutions, so that it does not trouble the habitation of another 
and suffers no interference with its own. God has shown 
what value man should attach to his nationality, when, wish- 
ing to punish the Hebrew people, rebellious against warnings 
and chastisements, he inflicted foreign domination on them as 
the most terrible punishment of all. . . . The Christian 
idea does not admit that the social power should issue in the 
oppression of one individual by another. Conquest cannot 
legalise the domination of one nation over another, for force 
is powerless to constitute right." 

Whether the doctrines here enunciated were correctly 
applicable to the purpose for which they were employed by 
the writer, I do not pronounce. But it is certain that as 
applied to Ireland they find a cordial echo in the minds of 
millions of our countrymen at home and in exile. The words 
I have quoted are taken from a letter addressed by Baron 
Ricasoli to the Pope, in August, 1861. 

Nationality is the principle which teaches us to take care of 
the interests of our own country, and to protect ourselves 
against the aggression of our neighbours. It is not a merely 
sentimental or romantic idea. It is eminently practical. It 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



181 



teaches us, for instance, in Ireland, that the physical and 
mental gifts bestowed by the Creator on our country and on 
its inhabitants — the fertility of the island — the wealth which 
it produces — the intelligence of its people — their industrial 
capacities — were clearly designed by the Divine Giver for the 
use and benefit of the Irish nation ; and that the system is 
wicked and execrable which deprives that nation of the boun- 
ties of Providence ; which expels them by the million from 
the despoiled land, and which grasps for the benefit of England 
the gifts bestowed by God upon the people whom a multiform, 
subtle tyranny has hunted into exile. The principle of na- 
tionality is the principle of self-protection against such mon- 
strous wrong. It is in the spirit of a friend to the British 
empire, not an enemy, that I quote from a very able New 
York letter in the Dundee Advertiser* the following description 
of the progress of the Irish in America : " They are building 
up a mighty nation, and raising up an enemy for their here- 
ditary foe, that will assuredly strangle her at some future day." 

England, in the day of her strength, may deride such pre- 
dictions. Her scorn, however, is not wise. Despite the 
follies and blunders of Fenianism, and the crimes of some of 
its leaders, its animating principle will survive and acquire 
fresh strength with every shipload of emigrants landed from 
Ireland on the American coast. It is not reasonable to sup- 
pose that the Fenians will always be destitute of leaders of 
ability. A cause that enlists all the Irish in the United 
States must sooner or later furnish champions endowed with 
a formidable capacity for command. I leave to statesmen to 
consider the perils possibly resulting from the fixed resentment 
that inspires the large and growing community of exiled Irish. 
There is an effectual mode of extinguishing their hatred. Let 
England deal with Ireland as Austria has dealt with Hungary. 
Let her undo the hideous crime of 1800. Let our revered 
sovereign open in Dublin the first session of the restored Irish 
legislature, leaving thenceforth her faithful Irish subjects to 
possess their own country and develop for themselves its re- 
sources in accordance with the claims of justice, and with the 
evident purposes of Providence— let our Queen do this, and 
Ireland, resuming the prosperous career which commenced in 
'82, and which the Union interrupted, will become the right 
arm of the Empire — loyal, proud, and happy; contributing to 
the general prosperity in time of peace, and to the general 

* From which it is copied into the Nation 27th April, 1867. The 
letter is that of a careful observer — not a partisan. 



182 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



defence in time of war. Let our Queen do this, and Fenian 
hostility, deprived of its pabulum, will at once become a thing 
of the past. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

True, my friend, as if an angel said it, 

Would that an angel's pealing voice were thine, 
'Till thy words were rooted and imbedded, 

Deep in every Irish heart as mine, 
Battling for our isle's regeneration. 

Still we know the future holds no chance, 
Hope or prospect for this Irish nation, 

Save in trampling down intolerance— 
Trampling doAvn the bigot's broils that pandered, 

Through the past, to England's foulest deeds, 
Writing broadly on our souls and standard, 

This unchanging motto— Deeds not Creeds. 

Poetry of the Nation. 

A notable event in the year 1842 was the establishment of 
the Nation newspaper. 

The proprietor and editor, Mr. Charles Gravan Duffy, had 
previously exhibited the self-reliance of conscious talent in 
setting up the Belfast Vindicator, despite the discouraging pre- 
dictions of numerous friends well acquainted with the North, 
who assured him that the failure of a Repeal journal in Saxon- 
ised Ulster was a matter of certainty. Duffy, nothing daunted, 
persevered in his experiment, and speedily reached a circula- 
tion of thirteen hundred ; establishing a firm footing in the 
heart of the enemy's quarters. The ability with which the 
Vindicator was conducted, soon acquired for its editor a high re- 
putation as a journalist. Mr. Duffy felt before long that his 
talents required a wider scope for their exercise than could be 
afforded by the conduct of a provincial journal, however re- 
spectable. He resolved upon starting the Nation. In this 
new undertaking he encountered discouragement similar to 
that which had waited on his northern experiment. Intelli- 
gent, observant men, who wished him well, treated his hopes 
of success as chimerical, asserting with much colour of pro- 
bability that the whole ground was pre-occupied by the two re- 
spectable weekly metropolitan journals which were already the 
exponents and propagandists of Repeal doctrines. 

The Weekly Freeman's Journal had been edited in succes- 
sion by several warm and able advocates of Irish independence. 
The Weekly Register, conducted by its proprietor, Michael Staun- 
ton, had acquired great value from the extensive and accurate 
financial and statistical knowledge profusely scattered through 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



183 



its leading articles. Mr. Staunton has been truly called the 
father of a distinct school — and a most useful one — of Irish 
politics. He has devoted his abilities to the elucidation of the 
knotty question of international finance — a question the most 
easily obscured by the ingenuity of official chicane. 

The Nation appeared contemporaneously with the Repeal 
missions. Its projectors little heeded the vaticinations of timid 
prophets. In the words of their prospectus, " they were pre- 
pared, if they did not find a way open, to try if they could 
make one." And a way they did make, and that speedily. 
They were encouraged to their task by the conviction that since 
the success of O'Connell's great struggle for civil and religious 
liberty, a new mind had grown up in Ireland ; a mind filled with 
new thoughts, new aspirations — panting to achieve new victories. 

The style of the Nation was eminently fervid and earnest ; 
it told home upon the hearts of the people. It spoke forth 
the singleness of purpose and the energy whereby its editor 
was characterised. One of its attractive features was its poetry. 
There were many poetical contributors, of whom the principal 
were Mr. Duffy and Mr. Thomas Osborne Davis, a Protestant 
barrister. Their minds were stored with the annals of their 
country — the feuds, the wrongs, the struggles of elder ages — 
the gallant exhibitions of an often foiled but never vanquished 
spirit of liberty. The thoughts inspired by those annals — now 
flowing in a dark and vengeful current — now rushing along 
in impetuous tumult — now softening into deep and solemn 
pathos — now concentrated in stern defiance — now soaring aloft 
upon the buoyant wings of lightsome hope — were thrown into 
verses glowing with a passionate fervour that awakened into 
life every slumbering pulse of Irish patriotism. 

Here is Young Ireland's poetical compliment to O'Connell : 
i. 

I saw him at the hour of pray'r, when morning's earliest dawn 
Was breaking o'er the mountain tops — o'er grassy dell and lawn ; 
When the parting shades of night had fled — when moon and stars were 
gone, 

Before a high and gorgeous shrine the Chieftain kneel'd alone. 
His hands were clasp'd upon his breast, his eye was rais'd above ; 
I heard those full and solemn tones in words of faith and love ; 
He pray'd that those who wrong'd him might for ever be forgiven ; 
Oh ! who would say such prayers as these are not received in heaven ? 

ir. 

I saw him next amid the best and noblest of our isle — 
There was the same majestic form, the same heart-kindling smile. 
But grief was on that princely brow — for others still he mourn' d ; 
He gazed upon poor fetter'd slaves, and his heart within him burn'd : 



184 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



And he vowed before the captive's God to break the captive's chain, 
To bind the broken heart, and set the bondsman free again. 
And fit was he our chief to be in triumph or in need, 
Who never wrong'd his deadliest foe in thought, or word, or deed. 

in. 

I saw him when the light of eve had faded from the west, 
Beside the hearth that old man sat, by infant forms caress'd ; 
One hand was gently laid upon his grandchild's clustering hair, 
The other, rais'd to heaven, invoked a blessing and a pray'r. 
And woman's lips w r ere heard to breathe a high and glorious strain — 
Those songs of old that haunt us still, and ever will remain 
Within the heart like treasur'd gems, that bring from mem'ry's cell 
Thoughts of our youthful days, and friends that we have lov'd so well. 

IV. 

I saw that eagle glance again — the brow was marked with care. 
Though rich and regal were the robes the Nation's chief doth wear ;* 
And many an eye now quailed with shame, and many a cheek now glow'd, 
As he paid them back with words of love for every curse bestowed. 
I thought of his unceasing care, his never-ending zeal ; 
I heard the watchward burst from all — the gathering cry — Repeal ! 
And as his eyes were rais'd to heaven — from whence his mission came — 
He stood amid the thousands there a monarch save in name. 

I select the following poems, not so much as specimens of 
poetical excellence, as from the plain exposition they afford 
of the policy, principles, and objects of their author. The 
first is entitled 

A LAY SERMON. 

BY CHARLES GAVAN DUFFY. 
I. 

Brother, do you love your brother? 

Brother, are you all you seem ? 
Do you live for more than living ? 

Has your life a law, and scheme ? 
Are you prompt to bear its duties, 

As a brave man may beseem ? 
n. 

Brother, shun the mist exhaling 

From the fen of pride and doubt ; 
Neither seek the house of bondage, 

Walling straitened souls about ; 
Bats ! who, from their narrow spy-hole, 

Cannot see a world without, 
in. 

Anchor in no stagnant shallow ; 

Trust the wide and wond'rous sea, 
"Where the tides are fresh for ever, 

And the mighty currents free '; 
There, perchance, young Columbus, 

Your New World of Truth may be. 



* The municipal robes of Lord Mayor. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



185 



IV. 

Favour will not make deserving — 
(Can the sunshine brighten clay ?) 

Slowly must it grow and blossom, 
Fed by labour and delay ; 

And the fairest bud to promise, 
Bears the taint of quick decay. 

v. 

You must strive for better guerdons, 
Strive to be the thing you'd seem ; 

Be the thing that God hath made you, 
Channel for no borrowed stream ; 

He hath lent you mind and conscience ; 
See you travel in their beam. 

VI. 

See you scale life's misty highlands 

By this light of living truth ; 
And, with bosom braced for labour, 

Breast them in your manly youth ; 
So when age and care have found you, 

Shall your downward path be smooth, 

VII. 

Fear not, on that rugged highway 
Life may want its lawful zest ; 

Sunny glens are in the mountain. 
Where the weary feet may rest, 

Cooled in streams that gush for ever 
From a loving mother's breast. 

VIII. 

* Simple heart and simple pleasures," 
So they write life's golden rule ; 

Honour won by supple baseness, 
State that crowns a canker'd fool, 

Gleam as gleam the gold and purple 
On a hot and rancid pool. 

IX. 

Wear no show of wit or science 

But the gems you've won and weighed ; 

Thefts, like ivy on a ruin, 

Make the rifts they seem to shade : 

Are you not a thief and beggar, 
In the rarest spoils arrayed ? 

x. 

Shadows deck a sunny landscape, 
Making brighter all the bright : 

So, my brother ! care and danger, 
On a loving nature light, 

Bringing all its latent beauties 
Out upon the common sight. 



186 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Love the things that God created, 
Make your brother's need your care ; 

Scorn and hate repel God's blessings, 
But where love is, they are there, 

As the moonbeams light the waters, 
Leaving rock and sandbank bare. 

XII. 

Thus, my brother, grow and nourish, 

Fearing none, and loving all ; 
For the true man needs no patron, 

He shall climb, and never crawl : 
Two things fashion their own channel — 

The strong man and the waterfall. 

The next is a song of triumph at the union of all Irishmen 

BY THOMAS DAVIS. 

Ireland ! rejoice, and England ! deplore. 

Faction and feud are passing away, 
; Twas a low voice, but 'tis a loud roar, 
" Orange and Green will carry the day !" 

Orange ! Orange ! 

Green and Orange ! 
Pitted together in many a fray — 

Lions in fight, 

And link'd in their might, 
Orange and Green will carry the day. 

Orange ! Orange ! 

Green and Orange ! 
Wave them together o'er mountain and bay, 

Orange and Green, 

Our King and our Queen, 
" Orange and Green will carry the day !" 

ii. 

Rusty the swords our fathers unsheathed, 

William and James are turned to clay — 
Long did we till the wrath they bequeath'd, 
Red was the crop and bitter the pay. 

Freedom fled us, 

Knaves misled us : 
Under the feet of the foemen we lay — 

Riches and strength, 

We'll win them at length, 
For Orange and Green will carry the day. 

Landlords fool'd us, 

England ruled us, 
Hounding our passions to make us their prey ; 

But, in their spite, 

The Irish " Unite," 
And Orange and Green will carry the day. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



187 



in. 

Fruitful our soil where honest men starve, 
Empty the mart, and shipless the bay; 
Out of our want the Oligarchs carve ; 
Foreigners fatten on our decay. 

Disunited, 

Therefore blighted, 
Ruined and rent by the Englishman's sway : 

Party and creed 

For once have agreed — 
Orange and Green will cam* the day. 

Boyne's old water, 

Red with slaughter, 
Now is as pure as an infant at play ; 

So in our souls 

Its history rolls, 
And Orange and Green will carry the day. 

IV. 

English deceit can rule us no more, 

Bigots and knaves are scattered like spray ; 
Deep was the oath the Orangeman swore, 
" Orange and Green must cam* the day." 

Orange ! Orange ! 

Bless the Orange ! 
Tories and 'Whigs grew pale with dismay, 

When from the North, 

Burst the cry forth, 
u Orange and Green must carry the day !" 

No surrender ! 

No Pretender ! 
Never to falter and never betray — 

With an Amen, 

We swear it again, 
Orange and Green shall carry the day ! 

Such were the strains that aroused the spirit of Young Ire- 
land — and of Old Ireland also. Their moral was self-reliance, 
internal union, and the extinction of sectarian animosities. In 
that moral I thoroughly concurred. We had in the Repeal 
Association many Protestant members, of whose conscientious 
attachment to their own religious belief I never entertained the 
least doubt. Those men had a noble, generous, and well de- 
served trust in their Catholic countrymen. Enemies them- 
selves to the political ascendancy of Protestantism, they felt 
no fears of Catholic ascendancy in the event of Repeal. Their 
principle, and ours, was the thorough political equality of all. 
For myself, I may be permitted to say this : I am a Catholic, 
deeply convinced of the truth of the Catholic faith, and claim- 
ing for Catholics the fullest equality of citizenship with Pro- 
testants. Yet, while recognising the infinite importance of the 



188 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Catholic faith in a spiritual point of view, I feel that, in a tem- 
poral aspect, home-government is so much more important 
than Catholic privilege, that if I were reduced to the alterna- 
tive, I should greatly prefer to have Ireland governed by an 
exclusively Protestant Irish parliament than by an exclusively 
Catholic English or imperial legislature. On a balance of ad- 
vantages and disadvantages, the scale would be immensely de- 
pressed in favour of self-legislation, even although clogged 
with the drawback of Catholic disability. Should any theo- 
logical enthusiast find fault with this opinion, I would remind 
him that the aggregate Catholic meeting held in DubJin, in 
1795, unanimously declared that they would resist even their 
own emancipation if offered as the price of an Union. And 
O'Connell said something not dissimilar when he announced 
on the 13th January, 1800, that he would prefer "the penal 
code in all its pristine horrors to the Union, as the lesser and 
more sufferable evil." 

Young Ireland was ardent and eager. Her fiery vehemence 
was a useful ingredient in our great constitutional warfare, so 
long as it was tempered with the judgment and experience of 
her elder friend and namesake. Old Ireland had seen much 
and struggled much. Old Ireland had been the victor in one 
prolonged and hard-fought contest — a triumph due to her 
wisdom, her virtue, and her perseverance. The sagacity of 
the one, restraining, but not extinguishing, the impetuous ar- 
dour of the other, produced a combination of qualities which 
would have been resistless in their union, if the demons of 
jealousy and division, followed by the crushing evils of the 
famine, had not dashed the councils and paralysed the strength 
of men whose movement, so long as they acted in concert with 
each other, had so fair a promise of success. 

The Nation first appeared on the 15th October, 1842. John 
O'Connell had, I think, returned to town, but Mr. Bay and I 
were still pursuing our missionary avocations. The result of 
the missions on the Repeal rent was remarkable. The week 
before we set forth to the provinces the rent was £45 14s. 8d. 
The week after our return it reached £235. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



189 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Acres. — By my valour, then, Sir Lucius, forty yards is a good distance 

I tell you. Sir Lucius, the farther off he is, the cooler I shall take ray aim. 

Sir Lucius. — Faith, then, I suppose you would aim at him best if he were out of 
Bight. 

Acres.— No, Sir Lucius— but I should think forty, or eight-and-thirty yards — Do, 
my dear Sir Lucius, let me bring him dowrrat a long shot. 

The Rivals. 

O'Connfll's next step was to bring the Repeal question into 
the Dublin Corporation. Early in February, 1843, he gave 
notice that on Tuesday the 21st of the month he would move 
a resolution affirmatory of the right of Ireland to a resident 
parliament, and the necessity of repealing the Union. 

Shortly prior to the 21st, he suddenly announced the post- 
ponement of his motion for a week. The Tory members of 
the Corporation complained of being unfairly treated. Alder- 
man Butt declared that he had remained in town at much per- 
sonal inconvenience in order to oppose the motion, and strongly 
remonstrated against the postponement. O'Connell, however, 
was inexorable ; whereupon there was a sort of triumphant 
growl amongst the opposite party, who said that he only manoeu- 
vred to get Butt out of town, from a well grounded fear of 
discussing the merits of Repeal with so able an adversary. 

The postponement was useful. Had the discussion taken 
place on the day originally fixed, it would have passed off as a 
matter of course, without exciting half the interest it afterwards 
created. But by putting it off, an additional fillip was given 
to the public mind. The anti-Repealers alleged that O'Connell 
was shrinking from Butt ; the Repealers indignantly denied 
the accusation. People upon both sides were thus set talking 
over the matter, and the public curiosity was wound up to a 
pitch of intensity when the day for the discussion arrived. 
O'Connell had planned this, in order to give additional eclat 
to the discomfiture he intended for the anti- Repealers. 

And a signal triumph he achieved. The Unionists had 
long been in the habit of saying, "O'Connell and his party 
have always kept out of the way of discussing this question — 
if we had them face to face we could expose their delusions." 
They had now got an opportunity of realising their boast. 

The Assembly House in William-street was crowded to the 
utmost. A vast concourse of people thronged the streets 
without, unable to obtain admittance, yet rooted to the spot 
by the interest which the question awakened in all breasts. 
Twice or thrice in the course of the day I passed through the 



190 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



crowd, and the people invariably asked me how Repeal was 
going on ? and who was speaking now ? with as eager an 
anxiety as if the success of the Repeal in the Dublin Corpora- 
tion would secure its final and immediate triumph. 

O'Connell's opening speech occupied four hours and ten 
minutes. He had arranged the whole subject under nine dis- 
tinct propositions. These were, 

I. The capability and capacity of the Irish nation for an in- 
dependent legislature. 

II. The perfect right of Ireland to have a domestic parlia- 
ment. 

III. That that right was fully established by the transactions 
of 1782. 

IV. That the most beneficial effects to Ireland resulted from 
her parliamentary independence. 

V. The utter incompetence of the Irish parliament to anni- 
hilate the Irish Constitution by the Union. 

VI. That the Union was no contract or bargain ; that it was 
carried by the grossest corruption and bribery, added to force, 
fraud, and terror. 

VII. That the Union produced the most disastrous results 
to Ireland. 

VIII. That the Union can be abolished by peaceable and 
constitutional means, without the violation of law, and without 
the destruction of property or life. 

IX. That the most salutary results, and none other, must 
arise from a Repeal of the Union. 

" These," said O'Connell, "are the nine propositions which 
I came here to-day to demonstrate. I say to demonstrate, not 
as relying on any intellectual powers of my own, or any force 
of talent, but from the truth and plainness of the propositions 
themselves. 

His speech was luminous and masterly. Notwithstanding 
its length, the physical vigour of the orator continued unim- 
paired to the end. The Nation's description is so accurate 
and discriminating that I cannot do better than quote it : 

"O'Connell," says that journal, "may have made more 
eloquent speeches — speeches more calculated to heat the 
blood and stir the passions, but he never excelled this one as 
an elaborate and masterly statement of a great case. The 
arrangement he adopted was remarkably skilful and judicious. 
He threw down, as it were, a single proof, and heaped others 
in succession upon the top of it, till they grew up to a gigantic 
pyramid which all the world might recognise. The effect of 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



191 



this process upon the audience was magical. The truth 
seemed to dawn upon them like the rising sun, growing 
plainer and plainer by degrees, till at length, as he drew near 
his peroration, it admitted of neither question nor dispute, and 
men seemed to say to each other with exulting looks, ' This is 
unanswerable.' " 

Such was the oration which Mr. Butt was obliged to reply 
to. It is not the least disparagement of his great abilities to 
say that his reply was a failure. There was a case made out 
for the Kepeal which could not be rebutted. In the total ab- 
sence of legitimate argument, he was compelled to resort to 
small dexterities, such as challenging, not the doctrine that 
the Irish parliament was incompetent to effect its own destruc- 
tion, but the alleged consequences of that doctrine, which 
Mr. Butt asserted would invalidate afl the acts of the imperial 
parliament. Mr. Butt also prophesied that as forty years had 
elapsed since the Union, we might look forward to some future 
good results from that measure ; a prediction which he tried 
to sustain by alleging that after the lapse of forty years the 
Scottish Union had begun to bear fruits of benefit to Scotland. 
Mr. Butt has seen reason to change his opinions since he 
uttered that prophecy. In his admirable "Plea for the Celtic 
Race," he admits " the decay that unquestionably followed 
the Union and instead of retaining the confidence which, in 
1843, he reposed in the justice of the British parliament, he 
writes as follows in a letter on the county Cork election, dated 
10th February, 1867 : "I have lost all faith in what is called 
parliamentary action. Just measures for Ireland will not be 
passed by the British parliament, unless under the pressure of 
external danger, or the influence of some great and powerful 
organisation combining the Irish people." 

In other words, we have nothing to expect from British 
justice. Any rights obtained from the British parliament 
must be forced out of that assembly by fear or by expediency. 
So said O'Connell in 1843. So says Mr. Butt in 1867. To 
return to his speech in reply to O'Connell. He defended the 
Irish Church Establishment on the ground that it was the duty 
of every state to consecrate itself to God; just as if the mode 
of consecrating Ireland to God was to invest the pastors of an 
eighth or ninth part of the population with a legal power to 
fleece the whole people ! He strongly urged repose for Ireland ; 
just as if a wronged and suffering nation ever gained anything 
by silent acquiescence in her injuries ! 

Mr. Butt is a man of great intellectual power, and of noble 



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IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



and generous impulses. It would indeed have been impossible 
that, possessing his high qualities of head and heart, and with 
the experience of the intervening quarter of a century, he 
should have retained to the present day the opinions expressed 
in his anti-Repeal speech in the Dublin Corporation. 

While he spoke, O'Connell repeatedly exclaimed, " I never 
made so unanswered a speech ! Why, he doesn't even try 
to make a case." The solution of this was, that in the midst 
of an Irish assembly there was no case to be made. Mr. 
Butt once or twice essayed Spring Rice's expedient of alleging 
our giant- stride prosperity ; but although that line of argu- 
ment might call down vociferous cheers in an English House 
of Commons, it could not elicit one solitary cheer from the 
Conservative party in the Irish Corporation ; for to all in that 
assembly the adverse facts were too well and too painfully 
known. 

The Warder newspaper, of evangelico- Orange politics, an 
able organ of the anti-Repeal party, and to which Mr. Butt 
has often been a literary contributor, furnishes, in its number 
for the 5th October, 1844, the following emphatic contradic- 
tion of Spring Rice's prosperity- case : 

" Squalid half- starvation is the desperate lot of the Irish 
peasant — destitution which no exertion of his own can relieve ; 
there is no labour too hard for him — he shrinks from no toil 
or hardship — but employment there is none for him ; priva- 
tion and misery which could not be borne for two days by 
Englishmen without the riot of insurrection, are here endured 
from weary month to month with a stoical patience." 

So spoke the Tory Warder. It may be easily supposed 
that the allegation of Irish prosperity did not meet an encou- 
raging reception from men who, though holding various 
politics, were yet perfectly cognizant of the dreary facts thus 
announced on high Protestant authority. I may parentheti- 
cally remark that in the face of such severe and widely-spread 
privation, the Whig parliament of 1833 might have discovered 
some other cause of prsedial outrages than political agitation. 

The Corporation debate was adjourned till the following 
day, when it was resumed with much ability by other gentle- 
men. Mr. Staunton's speech was an admirable financial state- 
ment. The debate was a second time adjourned. 

On the third day the public anxiety continued unabated. 
The vicinity of the Assembly House was argain densely crowded. 
Several speakers preceded O'Connell, who rose to reply at two 
o'clock. Near him sat his two staunch friends, John O'Neill, 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



193 



the Protestant, and Robert M'Clelland, the Presbyterian. The 
countenaLces of both those old patriots expressed their triumph 
at O'Connell's anticipated victory. 

No report, no description, could possibly do justice to that 
magnificent reply. O'Connell took up in succession all the 
objections of all his opponents, and dashed them to pieces ono 
by one. The whole phalanx of Unionists looked like pigmies 
in the grasp of a giant. The dexterities of Butt shrank and 
withered into nothing when touched by O'Connell. The con- 
sciousness of a great moral triumph seemed to animate his 
voice, his glance, his gestures. Never had I heard him so 
eloquent ; never had I witnessed so noble a display of his 
transcendent powers. 

The house divided on the question ; forty-one members 
to fifteen affirming the principle of Repeal by a majority of 
twenty-six. The decisive blow thus struck in the metropoli- 
tan corporation was promptly followed up in all the reformed 
corporations of the kingdom. Nothing could be more manifest 
than the superiority in argument of the corporate Repealers 
of Dublin. The Evening Mail, which had long puffed and 
blustered on the side of the Unionists, clearly saw that no 
rational case could be made against Repeal ; and it therefore, 
with becoming prudence, gravely advised the enemies of Irish 
legislative independence in the Cork Town Council not to 
argue the question at all ; but simply to record their political 
servility by silent votes. 

The impulse given to Repeal throughout the kingdom ap- 
peared in a rapid augmentation of the rent. The national 
question was now enthroned, moreover, in the different muni- 
cipalities ; and the temper and ability with which it was dis- 
cussed in those assemblies demonstrated the powerful hold it 
had taken on the thinking and intelligent mercantile classes of 
the kingdom. 

But the enemy did not relax his activity. The most daring 
misstatements of facts, the most reckless falsifications of the 
purposes of the Repealers, were profusely circulated by a large 
portion of the anti-repeal press ; and with an amount of suc- 
cess proportioned to the ignorance, bigotry, stolidity, or pre- 
judice of each reader. We, whose earnest aim and labour 
were to raise Ireland from her prostrate condition ; to retain 
for Irishmen the blessings which God has bestowed on their 
country ; to retain for the country the expenditure of its own 
wealth, and thereby to rescue the Irish peasant from the 
squalid half-starvation which the Tory Warder pronounced to 

9 



194 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



be bis desperate lot ; to obliterate sectarian distinctions and to 
place all Irisbmen upon a common level of fair play and equal 
privilege ; we, whose efforts sougbt tbe welfare and honour of 
all, were maligned as dark and dangerous conspirators against 
the rights of property, against the lives of Protestants, against 
order and civilization, against British connexion, 

Among the modes adopted to produce false impressions of 
the question of Repeal, was the circulation of a pamphlet by 
Mr. Montgomery Martin, entitled " Ireland before and after 
the Union with Great Britain." The object of this pamphlet 
was, of course, to demonstrate that Ireland had prospered 
largely by the destruction of her power of self-legislation. Mr. 
Martin's production was hailed with a burst of acclamation by 
the anti-repeal press. The Times led off by saying, " Mr. 
Montgomery Martin has published a valuable recital.' ' The 
Morning Herald said, " The publication at such a juncture as 
this of so demonstrative a work, is invaluable ; it will convict 
the Impostor. To the government proceedings it will give 
great assistance. It ought to be circulated throughout every 
town, village, and hamlet in Ireland." And so on, in strains 
more or less laudatory, through numerous anti-repeal organs 
in all the three kingdoms. Mr. Martin had, some time pre- 
viously, tried to set up a Repeal newspaper in London under 
the patronage of Mr. O'Connell. He was advised by Mr. 
O'Connell not to attempt it, inasmuch as the only readers of 
the paper would be the Irish in England, whose support would 
not render the experiment remunerative. Mr. Martin, how- 
ever, persevered ; set up the paper, and called it The Bepealer. 
O'Connell's prediction was fulfilled — it did not pay ; and Mr. 
Martin, after publishing a few numbers, desisted from the 
profitless attempt, and adopted the opposite side of the ques- 
tion. His pen, equally ready to advocate either the Repeal of 
the Union or the continuance of that measure, was now em- 
ployed to prove, not only that Ireland had made vast advances 
since 1800, but that she had been in a state of progressive 
decay during the existence of her free constitution. To de- 
monstrate the alleged decay, Mr. Martin exhibited fifteen items 
of exports, in which,^during a carefully selected portion of that 
period, a decrease had occurred. But he took care to omit 
nineteen other articles of export (including the staple commo- 
dity, linen) in which, during the very same years, there had 
been a large increase. On the whole thirty-four items, the 
nineteen and the fifteen taken collectively, there was a large 
increase. The audacious fraud was exposed by my old friend 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



198 



Michael Staunton in a learned and able reply, which was pub- 
lished as a pamphlet by the Repeal Association and widely 
circulated, I mention the circumstance to show the base 
methods that were taken to deceive the public mind on a 
question of vital importance to Ireland, 



CHAPTER XX. 

*' Oh I come then, Erin, come away ; 
Oh, haste, my love, nor longer stay, 
Oh, haste ! thy cruel sister leave, 
Her words are false, her smiles deceive ; 
1 Union,' she cries, with viperous breath — 
Union with her— is Erin's death." 

Beauties of the Press. 

The ensuing summer and autumn were rendered remarkable 
by the great gatherings called monster-meetings. The utility 
of those meetings lay in the evidence they afforded that the 
voice of the nation was for Repeal. Whig and Tory alike had 
incessantly asserted that the people cared nothing for Repeal. 
The people in 1843 turned out in their multitudinous strength 
to give the lie to that laboriously reiterated calumny. The 
whole population were astir. Invitations to attend public 
meetings in distant quarters poured in upon those who had 
been chiefly conspicuous in the agitation. The attendance on 
the weekly meetings of the Association overflowed the capacity 
of the apartment in which we had been accustomed to assem- 
ble. O'Connell resolved on erecting a hall of larger compass ; 
and on Thursday the 30th March, 1843, he laid the founda- 
tion-stone of the new edifice, on which he bestowed the name 
of Conciliation Hall. 

Meanwhile, meeting followed meeting in the country. 
O'Connell displayed astonishing mental and physical elasticity 
and vigour. He was then sixty-eight years old ; and he flat- 
tered himself that when accumulating years should have de- 
prived him of the strength required for his public exertions, 
he could still, from his closet, regulate the agitation, and guide 
the men who might occupy, under his instructions, a species 
of deputy leadership. During all this year the Young Ireland 
party, whose organ was the Nation newspaper, seemed to work 
in harmony with the old Agitator ; but in their writings, and 
especially in their poetry, there rang the clash of arms — there 
were significant allusions to the sword which O'Connell did not 
like. He could not control his impetuous allies ; but he took 
comfort by observing that fiery thoughts, which, if expressed 



196 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



in prose, might be legally unsafe, could be clothed in a 
poetic dress consistently with legal security. He had, with 
wondrous skill, kept the public mind of a whole generation at 
a pitch of the highest political excitement, yet restrained it 
from unconstitutional or illegal action. He feared that the 
Young Ireland party would stimulate his followers to compro- 
mise at once their own safety and the interests of Eepeal by 
deviations from the old, safe course they had hitherto pursued. 
But as yet the public saw nothing except mutual confidence 
and harmony of action between Old and Young Ireland. 

The greatest of the monster-meetings was held on the hill 
of Tara in the county Meath on the 15th August, 1843. In 
O'Connell's speech occurs the following passage: " We are 
at Tara of the Kings. We are on the spot where the mo- 
narch s of Ireland were elected, and where the chieftains of Ire- 
land bound themselves by the sacred pledge of honour and the 
tie of religion to stand by their native land against the Danes, 
or any other stranger. This is emphatically the spot from 
which emanated the social power — the legal authority — the 
right to dominion over the farthest extremities of the island, 
and the power of concentrating the force of the entire nation for 
the purpose of national defence. On this important spot I 
have an important duty to perform. I here protest in the face 
of my Creator — in the face of Ireland and of God, I protest 
against the continuance of the unfounded and unjust Union. 
My proposition to Ireland is that the Union is not binding 
upon us ; it is not binding, I mean, upon conscience — it is 
void in principle — it is void as matter of right — and it is void 
in constitutional law." 

On the day when O'Connell thus addressed a multitude 
computed by the Nation to consist of 750,000 persons, and 
which, although that number was probably an over-estimate, 
yet was undoubtedly an enormous gathering, the people of 
Clontibret in the county Monaghan held a numerous meeting 
to which I accepted an invitation. It was presided over by 
Captain Seaver of Heath Hall, a Protestant gentleman of for- 
tune, and a convert to Eepeal from Orangeism. On a rising 
ground at a small distance from our meeting, a party of dra- 
goons were drawn up under the command of an officer. This 
species of military supervision had become rather usual about 
that period. The pretext was, that a breach of the peace 
might occur between the Eepealers and the anti-Eepealers, re- 
quiring military intervention to suppress it. The redcoats 
looked lively, and were a picturesque addition to the landscape. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



197 



The meetings were all perfectly peaceful ; and if the soldiers 
were on any occasion permitted to approach within hearing of 
the speakers, they must — if Irish — have been heartily delighted 
with the doctrines announced, and with the resolutions that 
expressed the most fervid determination to persevere. 

O'Connell sometimes alluded to the beauties of the scenery. 
At the Clifden meeting he thus expressed himself : " I love 
the wild and majestic scenes through which I have this day 
passed in coming to your meeting. Perhaps I might be justi- 
fied in saying that nature did not intend me for a politician ; 
but that, judging from my feelings, I ought rather to have 
spent my life in the quiet and undisturbed admiration and en- 
joyment of nature's beauty and magnificence. The scenery I 
have this day passed has made me think so. It filled my soul 
with a thrilling and undefinable sensation to behold that wild 
and swelling morass encompassed by cloudcapt and majestic 
mountains — the regions of the storm and the mist — and the 
quiet lake surrounded with high and heath-covered banks, or 
sometimes embossed among trees, its surface scarcely disturbed 
by the soft and perfumed autumnal breeze ; whilst the tiny 
waves with which it was rippled, seemed to smile approbation 
upon us as our procession passed along its banks. I love the 
music of the waters, the silvery echoes of mountain rill, and 
the sounds of the torrent rushing over the brow of the preci- 
pice. They seem to whisper to my soul the joys of youth, to 
arouse the energies of manhood, and to dictate to me a com- 
mand that I could not refuse to obey — to use every energy of 
my soul, every power of my mind, every faculty of my being, 
to make our majestic yet neglected country the garden and the 
paradise for which nature has so obviously designed it." 

There were altogether some forty-five monster meetings, 
quite enough to develop the genuine sentiments of Ireland 
upon the Union, were any such evidence wanted. 

On the 20th October, 1843, Mr. Smith O'Brien addressed 
a letter to the secretary, enclosing his first subscription, and 
announcing his adhesion to the Repeal Association. In his 
letter he said : ' ' At this moment, after forty-three years of 
nominal union, the affections of the two nations are so entirely 
alienated from each other, that England trusts for the main- 
tenance of her connexion, not to the attachment of the Irish 
people, but to the bayonets which menace our bosoms, and 
to the cannon which she has planted on all our strong- 
holds." 

On the 23rd October, Conciliation Hall was formally opened. 



198 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



The accession of Mr. O'Brien was hailed with delight. He 
had long adhered to the delusive hope that justice to Ireland 
might be obtained from the united parliament ; but on the 
failure of his motion for a parliamentary inquiry into Irish 
grievances, was compelled to despair of any good from such 
a source. His motion was prefaced with a speech of great 
ability, fraught with extensive and accurate information as to 
the wrongs sustained by Ireland. He sought inquiry. As a 
matter of course it was refused ; prosecution of the Irish 
leaders was resolved on, and William Smith O'Brien tendered 
his adhesion to the National Association. 

A slight outline of his career will interest the Irish public. 

He was born in October, 1803. His remote ancestors were 
the royal O'Briens, of whose family Brian Boroimhe was a 
member. He was the second son of the late Sir Edward 
O'Brien, bart., of Dromoland, county Clare, and heir to the 
estates of his maternal grandfather, Mr. William Smith. 
He spent three years at Harrow school, and took his degree 
at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1828 he was brought into 
parliament by his father for the borough of Ennis — a close 
borough to which the O'Brien family and the late Lord Fitz- 
gerald alternately possessed the nomination. He ardently 
supported the Catholic claims, and enrolled himself a member 
of the Catholic Association in the year of his return to parlia- 
ment. He did not, in the House of Commons, give a regular 
support to the Tory ministry, although his father was a poli- 
tician of the class called Liberal Conservatives ; but after the 
Duke of Wellington carried Emancipation and lost the support 
of the ultra-Tories, Mr. O'Brien became a supporter in genera! 
of the government — voting, however, against it upon some 
questions involving constitutional principles. In 1831 he lost 
his seat on the dissolution which followed the defeat of the- 
Whigs on the Keform Bill. On that measure Mr. O'Brien did 
not vote, being absent from London, but he voted against 
General Gascoigne's motion declaring that the number and 
proportion of English representatives ought to continue un- 
diminished. In 1832 he was invited to stand for Ennis on the 
Liberal interest, but having transferred his residence from the 
county Clare to the county Limerick, he declined the invitation. 
In 1834 he re-entered parliament for the county of Limerick, 
and from that year until 1843 he generally acted with the 
liberal Whigs, giving them an independent support, but 
opposing them whenever he deemed them in the wrong — for 
example, on the Jamaica question. During their tenure of office 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



199 



he neither asked nor received any favour for himself or his 
family. 

Such is the outline of Mr. O'Brien's political career prior 
to 1813. It displays a single-minded consistency in the pur- 
suit of political truth. His motion on behalf of Ireland was 
couched in the following words: " That this House will resolve 
itself into a committee for the purpose of taking into conside- 
ration the causes of discontent at present prevailing in Ireland, 
with a view to the redress of grievances, and to the establish- 
ment of a system of just and impartial government in that 
part of the united kingdom." 

The rejection of that motion by the House decided the 
mover to join the Repeal agitation. He brought to the cause 
great practical ability, a complete mastery of the details of 
public business, acquired from his long experience in parlia- 
mentary committees, and an honest zeal, of which the enthu- 
siasm was at that time tempered and regulated by a calm and 
accurate judgment. His descent from the proudest line in 
Irish history gratified the Celtic prepossessions of the people ; 
his social position commanded respect ; and his Protestant 
creed afforded one more proof, in addition to the many already 
existing, that Irish nationality is of no particular sect or per- 
suasion ; and that amongst those who own its sacred influence, 
the most ardent, the most useful, the most active, may be, and 
have been, Protestants. 

On his junction with the Repeal Association, he immediately 
founded the Parliamentary Committee of that body, whose 
occupation was to watch and report upon all bills affecting Ire- 
land in their progress through parliament. The committees 
of the Association were practical schools of legislation. They 
amassed and disseminated information on matters with which 
the Irish legislator ought to be familiar. The Repeal leaders 
devoted their labours not merely to the organising of the people, 
but to the equally necessary task of diffusing through the land 
a body of knowledge calculated to exalt and fortify the move- 
ment by enlisting the intellect of Ireland as well as her feelings 
in favour of home-government. 

One of the topics to which the attention of the Association 
was called, was the project, from time to time renewed, of 
abolishing the viceroy alty. Against that project the Association 
passed a unanimous resolution. The viceroyalty, like every 
human institution, has its defects ; but it is better than any 
executive system by which it could be replaced. Not a shadow 
of proof has been given that Ireland would derive any benefit 



200 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



from its abolition. Many of the pretexts for abolishing the 
office have an ugly resemblance to the pretexts for abolishing 
the Irish parliament. Many of them would equally serve for 
abolishing our supreme courts of judicature, and transferring 
the jurisdiction of the Four Courts to Westminster Hall. We 
might be told about steam-rails and telegraphic wires. We 
might be told that the retention of a separate judicature was 
a mark of provincial dependence, and that we should be raised 
to the level of England, and made " an integral member of 
the empire," by the extinction of all that gives metropolitan 
rank to the capital of our country, and national character to 
our jurisprudence. English egotism is engrossing ; and when- 
ever a scheme for the further spoliation of Ireland is contem- 
plated by the absorption to London of our public institutions 
or offices, the project of robbery is pretty certain to be repre- 
sented as " making Ireland an integral part of the empire, " 
and exalting us to an equality with England. If the viceroy - 
alty were abolished, the supreme courts of law and equity 
would become the next objects of attack. Significant indica- 
tions of this have already been given. 

Some advocates of the abolition of the Viceregal office 
have — in my opinion, inconsistently— deplored the evils of Irish 
absenteeism. They deem it mischievous that the owners of 
Irish estates should be absentees ; yet they are ready to make 
an absentee of the Irish executive. I know no reason why 
any governmental acts or functions that can be performed in 
Ireland, should be performed out of Ireland. 

The talk we hear about the jobbery, flunkeyism, and cor- 
ruption engendered by the viceregal institution supplies no 
sound argument for abolishing the office. That talk merely 
means that the executive has something to give, in the way of 
either place or countenance ; and that for what it can give 
there will be applicants. The same objection may be made 
against every executive government that ever existed, or that 
ever will exist. 

The viceroyalty marks our national distinctness, and is a 
practical acknowledgment that Ireland is sufficiently great to 
require the permanent presence of the sovereign's representa- 
tive. 

The admirable regularity and effective working of the Asso- 
ciation at this period were mainly due to the care and ability 
of its secretary, Mr. Ray. He conducted the multitudinous 
correspondence of the Association, smoothed difficulties, disen- 
tangled and arranged the most complex details of public busi- 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



201 



ness with a quiet, easy mastery, resulting partly from long 
habit, but far more from natural sagacity. His acquaintance 
with Irish political subjects was accurate and extensive. He 
had a singularly tabular mind, well stored with information, 
historic and statistic; and he could, at a moment's notice, 
produce to you any fact or detail you might require from his 
copious stores. Each item occupied its place in his mental 
repositories, duly labelled and ticketed. An able and efficient 
officer of the Association, he was popular not only from his 
official merits, but also from his great and well-known private 
worth. 

Mr, Ray was the originator of the Repeal Reading Rooms. 
He established them in several towns on his Repeal mission in 
1842. The first of these rooms opened was at Newcastle, 
county Limerick. As the Reading Room system extended 
itself, it developed its utility in furnishing local centres to 
combine and permanently organize the county patriots ; cen- 
tres where political information could be constantly acquired ; 
social rallying points for the provincial Repealers where the 
intellect was exercised and improved ; where habits of morality 
were strengthened by the inducement afforded to the people 
to employ their leisure hours in mental recreation instead of 
sensual indulgence. 

Among the gentlemen who rendered frequent and efficient 
assistance to O'Connell in getting up meetings, was Maurice 
Lenihan, Esq., the able and accomplished author of a valuable 
History of Limerick. A list of the meetings which Mr. Lenihan 
contributed to organize would nearly fill a page. His exertions 
in this department of the popular service commenced in 1832, 
in which year he assisted in promoting the Repeal and anti- 
tithe demonstrations of Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir. In 
1837, 1838, 1843, and 1814, we find him actively engaged in 
a similar service at Cork, Mallow, Skibbereen, and Lismore. 
He was the principal organiser of the monster-meeting held at 
Thurles in September, 1845, to petition for Repeal ; and his 
graphic pen was frequently employed in describing for the 
press the popular gatherings assembled by O'Connell. Mr. 
Lenihan may look back with honourable pride on his useful and 
active part in the national agitation ; for he is staunch to his 
national principles, and as incapable as ever of comprehend- 
ing how Ireland can be benefited by the robbery and degrada- 
tion of the Union. 



202 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

"The King of France, with twenty thousand men, 
Marched up the hill, and then marched down again." 

The autumn of 1843 was advancing to its close ; three or four 
monster-meetings yet remained to be held. Of these the 
Clontarf gathering was fixed for Sunday the 8th October. The 
executive had hitherto looked passively on at the agitation. 
They now resolved on a sudden demonstration of vigour. 
Late on the afternoon of Saturday the 7th, a proclamation by 
the Viceroy, Lord De Grey, was issued from the Castle, pro- 
hibiting the intended meeting of the morrow at Clontarf. 
O'Connell, apprehensive of a sanguinary attack upon the 
people in case of their disregarding this proclamation, issued 
a counter-proclamation from the Corn Exchange, enjoining 
the Eepealers to abandon their purpose of assembling. Mes- 
sengers were despatched into the country in all directions to 
meet the people on their way to the metropolis, and to send 
them back to their respective homes. 

Meanwhile the government placed Dublin in a state of siege. 
All the guards at the barracks and at the Castle were doubled ; 
and for the especial protection of Earl De Grey from Repeal 
violence, a squadron of dragoons and two extra companies of 
foot were quartered in the Lower Castle Yard. Aldborough 
House was garrisoned with a regiment of infantry ; at night 
there were patrols established through the city. The roads 
in the vicinity were patrolled by parties of mounted police. 
Three vessels in the river had their guns runs out, command- 
ing the spot where the meeting was intended to have been 
held. The guns at the Pigeon House Fort were also run out 
so as to command Clontarf, and prepared for immediate action. 
The Rhadamanthus and Dee war steamers brought the 87th 
Royal Irish Fusiliers to Dublin. The 34th regiment arrived 
in Dublin on Sunday morning after a stormy passage from 
Glasgow. As that regiment marched through the city, the 
multitude heartily cheered them ; the commanding officer 
mistook the cheer for a hostile indication, and ordered the 
men to halt and fix bayonets. The crowd cheered again. The 
officer was wiser the second time, and quietly marched his men 
to their barrack. 

The 5th Dragoon Guards were stationed at Clontarf. The 
men were accoutred for active service — each man and horse 
being provisioned for twenty-four hours. The 60th Rifles 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



203 



were stationed in their immediate vicinity ; each soldier was 
served with sixty rounds of ball-cartridge. A brigade of the 
Royal Horse Artillery occupied a position near Clontarf sheds, 
with four six-pounders limbered and ready for immediate 
action. There were also the 11th Hussars and the 54th 
regiment of infantry stationed near the sheds. A monster 
armament was brought against unarmed, peaceful multitudes, 
to prevent their assembling to petition the legislature for the 
repeal of a destructive and detested statute. It is impossible 
not to be struck with the similarity of the means whereby the 
Union was carried, and those by which it is sustained. Pitt 
and Castlereagh corrupted and coerced. Ebrington bribed 
Unionists with the lure of government patronage ; De Grey 
brought down troops to overawe the Repealers. Pitt poured 
137,000 bayonets into Ireland to carry the Union. Peel 
poured in 30,000 bayonets to preserve it. 

The display of military force could not disconcert men who 
meditated no appeal to arms. The Tories, however, declared 
that the military occupation of Ireland was indispensable to 
preserve the connexion of the countries. What a pregnant 
commentary on the Union ! The Union, which was to have 
fused, consolidated, identified the nations, so that they were 
no longer to have been " twain, but one flesh this consoli- 
dating Union lasts for three-and-forty years, at the end of 
which period (on the Tory showing) it requires 30,000 troops 
to restrain one of the " consolidated" parties from breaking 
loose from the other. I repeat, what a pregnant commentary 
on the Union ! It is the same at the end of sixty-six years. 
It will be the same as long the Union lasts. A measure in 
the highest degree insulting to the national honour, abhorrent 
to the national sentiment, and pernicious to the national in- 
terests, can have no other security for its continuance than 
the overwhelming brute-force of England. 

Meanwhile the Repealers displayed no relaxation of zeal or 
activity. The first weekly meeting of the Association after 
the Clontarf affair was so crowded, that the committee were 
obliged to adjourn it to the theatre in Abbey-street. Prose- 
cutions were threatened, and the public mind was greatly ex- 
cited. On that day, and on the two following Mondays, the 
chair was successively occupied by John O'Connell, by myself, 
and by Mr. John Augustus O'Neill of Bunowen Castle, who 
threw into his address a genuinely Irish spirit of chivalrous 
devotion to the cause. 

Then came the prosecutions, under the management of the 



204 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Attorney- G-eneral, Mr. Thomas Berry Cusack Smith, son of 
Baron Smith, whose support of the Union has been noticed in 
a former chapter of this work. At first the proceedings excited 
curiosity, but their dull monotony soon palled upon the public. 
The traversers kept up their spirits despite this monster nui- 
sance. Amusement was given by the public perusal of fan- 
tastic, amatory, or romantic poetry in court, from the versical 
department of the Nation. Mr. Steele was in hopes that the 
principal witness against him, Mr. Frederick Bond Hughes, 
would have been discredited by the court and jury from the 
following circumstance. Steele was in the habit of writing 
out his own speeches for the newspapers, and introducing 
whatever additions or changes might occur to him while the 
pen was in his hand. Mr. Hughes, who was employed by 
the government to report the speeches of the Kepealers, ap- 
peared as a witness for the prosecution of Steele, and swore to 
his actual delivery of a speech which contained the quotation, 
" Behemoth, biggest born of the earth, 
Upheaved his vastness." 

Now, these words had not been delivered by Steele, but had 
been added by him to the report of whatever he had really 
said. Yet Mr. Hughes swore positively to Steele's delivery of 
the speech as reported with the added passage about Behemoth 
and his vastness. Steele made an affidavit denying the de- 
livery, and asserting that he had introduced the addition while 
writing out his speech for the press. But the objection to 
Mr. Hughes's credibility was overruled by the court ; and in 
candour it must be admitted that such a mistake might be 
made by the witness without any intentional deviation from 
veracity. The mistake was made the most of, and added to the 
unpopularity which had already attached to Mr. Hughes as a 
crown witness. The owner of an itinerant equestrian troupe, 
whose name was Hughes, tried to turn the affair to his own 
account by appending to his placards and advertisements the 
following intimation : " N.B. — No connexion with Mr. Fre- 
derick Bond Hughes ;" which disclaimer may perhaps have 
drawn some extra spectators to the equine show. 

The trials went on slowly and wearily. One of the attorneys 
for the defence made a serio-comic complaint of the court, the 
agents, and the defendants, who all seemed engaged in a con- 
spiracy to deprive the trial of becoming gravity and dignity. 

44 Heaven help me," said this gentleman, "I have got no 
peace among 'em all. I want my clients to swear an affidavit — 
they've levanted somewhere, and aren't to be found. Well, 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



205 



there's a hurry-scurry after them, and at last they're dis- 
covered sitting for their pictures to some vagabond coxcomb 

of an artist from London. By-and-by I want Mr. n (a 

brother solicitor) ' ' on a very pressing matter. He's invisible — 
another hue-and-cry ; at length he's caught in a back parlour, 
with his thumbs in his waistcoat pockets, strutting up and 
down in a dignified attitude, and looking as majestic as he can 
for some other grinning picture-drawing scamp. We go back 
to the court — the traversers are cracking their jokes among 
themselves in their box, and my lords are poking their necks 

over the desk to find out if they can what the d the fun 

is all about. Counsellor Fitzgibbon does his duty by his 
client, whereupon the Attorney- General jumps up and sends 
him a three-cocked invitation in open court to come and be 
shot at twelve paces." 

The most brilliant speeches that enlivened the prolonged 
monotony of the trial were those of Sheil, who defended John 
O'Connell, and of Whiteside (now Chief Justice), who defended 
Charles Gavan Duffy. From Mr. Whiteside's speech I extract 
one passage : " Men have lived amongst us who approached 
the greatness of antiquity. The imperishable records of their 
eloquence may keep alive in our hearts a zeal for freedom and 
a love of country. The comprehensive genius of Flood — the 
more than mortal energy of Grattan — the splendour of Bushe — 
the wisdom of Saurin — the learning of Ball — the noble sim- 
plicity of Burrowes — the Demosthenic fire of Plunket, and 
the eloquence of Curran, rushing from the heart, and which 
will sound in the ears of his countrymen for ever. They 
failed to save the ancient constitution of Ireland — wit, learn- 
ing, genius, eloquence, lost their power over the souls of men. 
With one great exception,* our distinguished countrymen have 
passed away, but their memorials cannot perish with them. 
While the language lasts, their eloquence lives, and their 
names will be remembered by a grateful posterity so long as 
genius shall be honoured and patriotism revered. The Irish 
people, lastly, demand that the Union be repealed, because, 
they say, their feelings have not been consulted nor their 
miseries relieved by the imperial parliament. Wealth has 
diminished, say they, amongst us ; before us there is a gloomy 
prospect and little hope. . . . They have embraced this 
project of Repeal with ardour. It is their nature, where they 
feel strongly, to act boldly and to speak passionately." 

The management of the trial by the government officers is 
* Plunket, who then still lived. 



206 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



familiar to the public — the refusal of the caption to the tra- 
verses — the defective jury -list — the shameless packing of the 
jury — the admission of a species of evidence against the tra- 
versers which was actually condemned as inadmissible at the 
very same period by the Court of Queen's Bench at West- 
minster* — the charge by the Lord Chief Justice against " the 
other side," and finally the wrongful imprisonment. 

But the imprisonment was a great point gained for the 
Orangemen. No matter by what means accomplished, it was 
the subject of loud exultation. The traversers were at last in 
gaol, convicted of a " conspiracy ;" which conspiracy no ten 
rational men outside the court and jurybox believed to have 
any existence at all. 

The exclusion of Catholics from the jury-list because they 
were supposed to be Repealers, was defended by Sir James 
Graham in the following manner : " We wanted," said the 
right hon. baronet, " to avoid the partiality necessarily arising 
from preconceived opinions favourable Jo Repeal on the part 
of the jurors." 

Did it occur to Sir James that there might be as strong a 
partiality on the opposite side, arising from the preconceived 
opinions of jurors adverse to Repeal ? 

When a man says, " Don't put Repealers into the jury- 
box — they will be sure to acquit," it sounds extremely like 
saying, " Do put anti-Repealers into the box — they will be 
sure to convict." 



CHAPTER XXII. 

" Who helpeth not himself, Fortune disowns ; 
Who braves all obstacles will win i' th' end ; 
Success crowns perseverance— coward souls, 
Who shrink from work, shall never win work's guerdon." 

Herbert Smith. 

The Orange and Tory party now had their triumph. Truly 
the government had deserved success, if a reckless disregard 
of all decency in their vindictive pursuit could entitle them to 
victory. 

But the verdict was obtained, no matter how ; and sentence 
was pronounced, and there was a mighty uproar of delight 
in all Orangeland. The Mail announced that the traversers 
had been hurried to their prison with less eclat than had often 
attended a coal-porter's wedding. I think it was that journal 

* Viz., the admission of newspaper articles in evidence against men who 
never saw them. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



207 



that jocularly said, " O'Connell has got two feather beds con- 
veyed from his house to the gaol — one for himself, and the 
other, we presume, for Repeal." That Repeal could survive 
the incarceration of seven of its leaders, was deemed impossi- 
ble. The cause was extinct ; that was loudly announced. 
The Repeal rent would dwindle to nothing. The deluded 
people, having their eyes opened to the wickedness, folly, and 
peril of their evil ways by the well-merited punishment of 
their chiefs, would be scared from any further connexion with 
the movement. They would no longer furnish the sinews of 
war to a set of men who could not keep their heads out of Sir 
Robert Peel's net. The leaders were seized ; the flock would 
scatter. And above all, the mischievous magic of O'Connell's 
legal infallibility, which so long had kept the Repealers to- 
gether, would now be destroyed. The spell was dissolved ; 
the magician would henceforth be powerless. 

Such were the boasts of the anti-Repealers on O'Connell's 
imprisonment. Bets were laid whether the Repealers would 
hold their usual meeting on the following Monday. The Con- 
servative party were firmly convinced that they would not dare 
to assemble. 

The committee met on the evening of the day that saw 
O'Connell consigned to a prison. The room was overflowing, 
and great excitement necessarily prevailed. It was surmised 
that the government would proclaim down the Association on 
the Monday morning, and arrest the principal Repealers who 
were still at large. On the question being discussed as to who 
should occupy the chair, a post of possible danger, numerous 
gentlemen offered themselves; but Mr. Smith O'Brien said 
that as he conceived that the struggle against despotic power 
could perhaps be most effectively made in his person, he 
claimed the chief post of peril as a particular favour. It was, 
however, deemed more advisable that Mr. O'Brien should 
occupy the place usually filled by Mr. O'Connell. 

Monday arrived. It soon became manifest that the Re- 
pealers were not scared by the recent prosecution. They 
mustered in such crowds that Conciliation Hall was filled long 
before the hour announced for the commencement of the day's 
business, and thousands who could not obtain standing 
room were obliged to go away. The Tory predictions did not 
seem likely to be realised. There was no shrinking, either 
fcmong the leaders or the people. 

The chair was occupied on Monday by Mr. Caleb Powell of 
Clonshavoy, the Protestant representative of the county 



208 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Limerick ; and on Tuesday by another Protestant gentleman, 
Captain Seaver of Heath Hall, near Newry. There was a 
sustained, yet quiet energy in the proceedings. There was 
the most intense enthusiasm combined with the most cautious 
discretion. Every face expressed firm resolution to encounter 
all risks that might beset the pursuit of Repeal ; but at the 
same time to play the game warily as well as firmly. The 
minds of men were braced and strung for a mighty effort. It 
was glorious to behold the crowds that filled the national hall 
at the moment when the thunders of the government were 
directed against Ireland's nationality. The people never as- 
sumed a loftier port or a nobler attitude than when they 
calmly bade defiance to tyrannic power, and opposed the 
simple might of popular opinion to the chicanery of perverted 
law and the formidable array of British bayonets. The troops 
that filled the land, and the monster-indictment, alike were 
impotent to scare them from a course recommended by its own 
intrinsic justice, and endeared to their hearts by the sentiment 
of honourable national pride. They hailed with delight the 
entrance of the men who were accustomed to take a prominent 
part in the proceedings. The roof rang again with the joyous 
acclamations that greeted their appearance. 

The prosecution did not paralyse the contributors to the 
Repeal exchequer. There was actually an inconvenient rivalry 
to hand in money. Each man was eager to pour into the 
treasury the contribution entrusted to his care, and thus were 
several hours successively occupied. The first week's receipts 
amounted to £2,593 18s. 2d., which sum was considerably 
exceeded on several subsequent occasions. 

Almost immediately on O'Connell's imprisonment the 
several municipal corporations of Ireland sent deputies to the 
metropolis ; where, having been refused admission to the 
prison for the purpose of presenting addresses to the captives, 
they assembled at O'Connell's house in Merrion-square, and 
there agreed on a solemn declaration that Ireland required a 
domestic parliament to develop her resources and secure her 
prosperity. This declaration, emanating not from noisy agita- 
tors, but from the very flower of the trading and mercantile 
community of Ireland, was necessarily calculated to produce a 
deep impression. 

Whilst these events occurred out of doors, let us take a 
peep within the prison walls. 

O'Connell, on the evening of his incarceration, had exclaimed, 
" Thank God, I am in jail for Ireland!" He believed that Peel's 



IRELAND AND IIER AGITATORS. 



209 



false move tended to augment the strength of the national 
cause. All the prisoners dined together, and the party wore 
anything but a tragical air. They all enjoyed the exhilaration 
of spirits arising from a hope, that, whatever inconvenience 
they might sustain, their imprisonment would accelerate the 
triumph of the cause that was nearest to their hearts. 

They were, for the first few days, occupied with the bustle 
of fixing themselves in their new quarters. At last they settled 
clown into something like their usual habits. Charles Gavan 
Duffy, the editor of the Nation ; Dr. (now Sir John) Gray, 
the editor of the Freeman; and Richard Barrett, the editor of 
the Pilot, found abundant employment in superintending their 
several journals. The moments unoccupied by business they 
devoted to study, or to taking exercise in the adjoining gar- 
dens. Mr. Duffy, under the impression that the imprison- 
ment would last a year, announced his purpose of reading 
through Carte's Life of Ormond in three folio volumes. Mr. 
Ray still exercised his supervision of the affairs of the Asso- 
ciation. John O'Connell wrote his amusing and instructive 
Repeal Dictionary, which appeared in the weekly press, and 
which I believe was subsequently published in a collected form. 
Steele read Kane's Industrial Resources of Ireland, and 
defaced the fair pages of the work with innumerable marks of 
admiration. Barrett was ready for fun, frisk, joyous frolic of 
every sort, and more than once kept the incarcerated coterie in 
roars of laughter by attitudinising and grimacing in a style that 
would have done honour to Liston. Two of the visitors played 
the short-armed orator; the comic force of the pathetic passages 
being much enhanced by a cambric handkerchief which the 
gentleman who performed the action held to the weeping eyes 
of the gentleman who performed the eloquence. Nearly all 
the prisoners contributed to the pages of a jeu <V esprit called 
the Prison Gazette, which came out on Fridays after dinner, 
and in which they quizzed each other and their friends with 
merry malice. In short, there never were prisoners who bore 
so lightly and joyously the hours of imprisonment, or whose 
deprivation of freedom was more soothed by the kind and 
sympathetic offices of friends. 

They had access to two gardens. In one of these was a 
mound with a summer house at the top. The mound they 
amused themselves by calling Tara Hill, the summer house 
was termed Conciliation Hall. In the other garden they 
erected a large marquee which they styled Mullaghmast, 
and in this marqude were received the numerous deputations 



210 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



who bore addresses to the " convicts " from the different 
quarters of the kingdom. I learned from a gentleman who 
was present on one of these occasions that O'Connell replied 
to the bearers of an address in the following words : " Tell 
your friends that my heart is joyful, my spirits are buoyant, 
my health is excellent, my hopes are high. My imprisonment 
is not irksome to me, for I feel and know that it will, under 
Providence, be the means of making pur country a nation 
again. I am glad I am in prison. There wanted but this to 
my career. I have laboured for Ireland — refused office, 
honour, and emolument for Ireland — I have prayed and hoped 
and watched for Ireland— there was yet one thing wanted — 
that I should be in jail for Ireland. That has now been added 
to the rest, thanks to our enemies ; and I cordially rejoice at it." 

O'Connell, in the course of that day, was waited on by a 
party of American tourists. When they arrived, he was stand- 
ing on the top of " Tara Hill." They doffed their hats and 
remained at the foot of the mound until desired to walk up. 
ct You are probably more visited here," said one of them, 
" than if you were at large." " Yes," replied the Liberator, 
" and here I cannot use the excuse of i not at home.' " 

The progress of Repeal during his imprisonment enchanted 
him. " The people," said he, "are behaving nobly. I was 
at first a little afraid, despite all my teaching, that at such a 
trying crisis they would have done either too much or too 
little — either have been stung into an outbreak, or else awed 
into apathy. Neither has happened. Blessed be God, the 
people are acting nobly. What it is to have such a people to 
lead!" 

He rejoiced especially over the excellent training of the Re- 
peal Association ; praised the young talent called forth by the 
movement, bestowing particular eulogy on MacNevin and Barry. 

" In the days of the Catholic Association," said he, "I used 
to have more trouble than I can express in keeping down 
mutiny. I always arrived in town about the 25th October, 
and on my arrival I invariably found some jealousies, some 
squabbles — some fellow trying to be leader, which gave me in- 
finite annoyance. But now all goes right — no man is jealous 
of any other man ; each does his best for the general cause." 

Speaking of his own pacific policy, he remarked it was a 
curious coincidence that the Conal of Ossian should say, " My 
sword hangs at my side — the blade longs to shine in my 
hand — but I love the peace of green Erin of the streams." 

The convicted patriots received numerous presents of fruit 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



211 



and flowers. A patriotic confectioner presented them with 
two monster cakes. Mr. Scriber of Westmoreland-street sent 
them seven musical boxes to cheer their imprisonment ; and 
it is said that immediately on the arrival of the harmonious 
cargo, the prisoners evinced their satisfaction with more musi- 
cal zeal than taste — namely, by setting the seven boxes all 
playing together. 

Mr. Steele one day placed a stone which he dignified with 
the name of the Liach Fail, or the Stone of Destiny, on the 
side of the mimic Tara Hill in the garden, calling on Duffy to 
don his hat in honour of the august ceremony. 

With these and similar helps and devices did the prisoners 
try to cheat the hours of that bondage which, under every 
circumstance of mitigation, must ever be oppressive and weari- 
some to men of ardent minds and active habits. One day John 
O'Connell made some remark on the high gloomy prison build- 
ings which excluded the view of the country from the dining- 
room. "I am better pleased," said his father, " that the 
view is excluded. To see the hills and fields and sea-coast, 
and to feel that you were debarred from the freedom of walk- 
ing among them, were a worse affliction than to be deprived 
altogether of the sight. It would tantalise too much." 

But these little fits of gloom were merely passing clouds. 
There was great and enduring consolation in the steady pro- 
gress the Repeal cause seemed to be making daily. The 
meetings of the Association wore an eminently business-like 
and practical character. There was no wild, driftless rhap- 
sodising. Men spoke to the purpose, and not at immeasurable 
length. Their eloquence — the more effective because com- 
pressed within reasonable limits — was alternated with the de- 
livery of the vast remittances which showed how stedfastly the 
nation backed the demand for independence. The money was 
an index that could not be mistaken of the people's resolve. 
When a poor and oppressed people give their money, they 
are ready to give everything else — life itself, if needed, to 
achieve their object. 

The verdict, sentence, and imprisonment failed to produce the 
results which were confidently predicted by the anti-Irish gang 
who had hounded on Sir Robert Peel to prosecute. It was 
prophesied, 

Firstly, that a salutary terror would be struck into the souls 
of the Repealers. When their leader was made amenable for 
his crimes to the outraged law, his followers would shrink from 
exposing themselves to the like penalty. 



212 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS . 



But the Repealers were not so easily terrified. They mus- 
tered at Conciliation Hall with greater energy and in larger 
numbers than ever. 

Secondly, it was thought that if the people could not be 
immediately scared, their indignation at the legal outrage 
on their Liberator might at least goad them into a useful 
emeute; for which contingency a potent armament had been 
prepared. Repeal might be drowned in a river of blood. 

But again — the provoking people knew better than to treat 
their kind friends to an emeute. They were not quite so reck- 
less or impulsive as those sagacious speculators had deemed 
possible. Instead of taking up pikes, they thronged Concilia- 
tion Hall to supply themselves with Repeal cards. 

Thirdly, there were among the Tory editors and politicians 
good, benevolent souls who were sorry to see the knowing 
managers at the Corn Exchange gull their poor dupes out of 
the Repeal rent. They said, " Shut up O'Connell, and the 
rent will immediately dwindle to nothing. The Irish 6 treason' 
will lose its supplies." 

But this benevolent hope was also doomed to be disap- 
pointed. For the fourteen weeks preceding the imprisonment 
the Repeal rent had amounted to £6,679 12s. 6d. For the 
fourteen weeks that O'Connell was in jail the National Trea- 
sury swelled up to £25,712 17s. 2d. 

Fourthly, it was confidently promised that the imprison- 
ment would for ever deprive O'Connell of the prestige of legal 
invulnerability. The people would fly from the impostor, 
now unmasked by the searching operation of the law. 

But the people were so wickedly obtuse that they did not 
understand how O'Connell's reputation as a lawyer could 
suffer from a notoriously virulent and one-sided charge, and a 
verdict so battered and shattered and damaged as to lose all 
moral weight in the estimation of rational and unprejudiced 
men. They did not require any experiments in the Court of 
Queen's Bench to convince them that twelve hot Tories could 
easily be got to seize with alacrity on an opportunity of finding 
O'Connell guilty. The Agitator's legal prestige accordingly 
remained unimpaired. 

Fifthly, as the glorious result of all the above sagacious 
speculations, Repeal would be extinct. 

But Repeal turned out to possess an unexpected vitality. 
To the dismay and astonishment of the prophets, instead of 
becoming extinct, it towered aloft in new pride and strength ; 
it expanded and fortified its influences ; it assumed, to all 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



213 



outward appearance, an attitude of majesty and power far 
greater than it had previously exhibited ; it daily received 
fresh adhesions from important recruits ; it took such a grasp 
of the national heart that a prudent statesman might have 
reasonably asked himself whether the refusal of a demand 
so just, so righteous, so essential to Irish prosperity, and on 
which the desire of the people was unalterably fixed, could be 
persevered in without deeply imperilling the integrity of the 
British empire ? 

So far, at least, as concerned the immediate results of ths 
imprisonment, new force was thereby imparted to the move- 
ment. The energy of former Mends was increased. Our 
ranks were enlarged by new and valuable auxiliaries. 

Baffled and discomfited by results so different from what 
had been expected, the anti-Irish party began to think that 
it had been wiser to abstain from meddling with the national- 
ists ; and that, as Dr. Gray had tersely remarked, O'Connell 
could far better afford to remain in prison than Peel could 
afford to keep him there. 

The prisoners had appealed from the decision of the Court 
of Queen's Bench to the House of Lords. Such an appeal 
seemed unpromising enough ; but they felt it a duty, not less 
to their country than to themselves, to try every chance, how- 
ever improbable, of procuring a reversal of the unjust judg- 
ment under which they suffered. The great majority of the 
English judges were against them. Providentially the ulti- 
mate decision lay with five law- lords — Lyndhurst, Brougham, 
Cottenham, Denman, and Campbell, of whom the last-named 
three respected the constitutional rights of the Queen's sub- 
jects ; detested jury-packing and partisan charges ; did not 
comprehend how a sound and legal judgment could be based 
on an unsound and illegal indictment ; and accordingly, both 
on the merits of the case and on legal grounds, reversed the 
judgment of the Irish Court of Queen's Bench. The words 
of Lord Denman are too important to be omitted from a 
record, however brief, of the transaction. " If," said his 
lordship, " such practices as had taken place in the present 
instance in Ireland should continue, the trial by jury would 
become a mockery, a delusion, and a snare." 

Three law-lords against two decided the matter in favour 
of the prisoners. They had been thrust into jail with vin- 
dictive haste. The ultimate court of appeal now decided that 
they should not have been in jail for an instant. The Times, 
in its dismay, made a desperate effort to extract an argument 



214 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



against Kepeal from the decision of the Lords. Thus spoke 
the leading journal : " It (the decision) will teach the most 
anti- Saxon of the Irish people — the most vehement instigators 
to Repeal — the most violent denouncers of England, that the 
only tribunal where the strict and literal construction of the 
law is brought to aid the impugners and violators of law, is 
the highest court of that nation from which Ireland prays to 
be divorced — that the- only place where those who have 
assailed England and her peerage can have justice meted, is 
the house of peers in England." 

The decision of the three honest law-lords taught the Irish 
people no such thing. That there were three constitutional 
law-lords out of five was sheer accident. But there was no 
accident in the Saxon spirit which initiated the prosecution ; 
no accident in the anti-Irish tendencies of the Court of Queen's 
Bench ; no accident in the Saxon hate of Ireland which denied 
to the accused throughout the trial the ordinary privileges dic- 
tated by common justice ; no accident in the fiery speed with 
which the accused were hurried from the courts to the jail ; no 
accident in the decision of a large majority of the English 
judges, who confirmed the judgment delivered by their Irish 
brethren in a mode whereof the falsehood and the folly con- 
tended for predominence ; no accident in the indecency with 
which the lay lords were struggling to negative the reversal of 
judgment pronounced by the law-lords, if they had not been 
restrained for very shame's sake by Lord Wharnclifie. 

No. These things were not accidental ; and in them, each 
and all, did the Irish people recognise the impression of Eng- 
lish influence, and the paramount need for self-government. 
In them, and not in the lucky accident of a favourable majority 
(and it was the smallest possible majority) among the English 
law-lords, do the Irish people find the motives rationally appli- 
cable to their dealings with the Legislative Union Statute. 

On the evening of the 6th of September, O'Connell and his 
fellow-prisoners were liberated.* About ten days previously, 
his intimate friend, Mr. Patrick Fitzpatrick of Eccles- street, 
had expressed to him his expectation that the law-lords would 
confirm the sentence, but that the prisoners would be libe- 
rated by the exercise of the royal prerogative. " You must, 
in that event," said Mr. Fitzpatrick, " be prepared with in- 
stant securities. How large is the amount of bail required ?" 

* The particulars which follow were communicated to me by Mr. 
Fitzpatrick. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



215 



O'Connell had forgotten the amount, and descended to the 
governor's office to inspect the book. Mr. Fitzpatrick speedily 
followed, and found O'Connell laughing heartily at the per- 
sonal description annexed to his name in the book — " Daniel 
O'Connell — complexion good." The amount of bail was 
£5,000 personally, and two securities in £2,500 each. 

" But it is idle — quite idle to talk of it," said O'Connell ; 
11 there is not the least probability — not the smallest shadow 
of a chance of our being set free. No, my good friend — we 
shall suffer our full term." 

In this conviction O'Connell continued until the evening of 
the 6th. Two messengers from the Corn Exchange rushed 
tumultuously into the prison with the news, vociferating in 
such noisy rivalship that their tidings were for a long time 
perfectly unintelligible. At length one of them, per force of 
better wind, shouted his comrade out of breath, and having 
reached the corridor leading to O'Connell's apartments, he 
continued to bellow, " I'm first ! I'm rl 1 ! I'm first !" 

" What is it all about ?" demanded . Barrett, who was 
calmly perambulating the corridor. 

"Only that you're free," cried Edmond O'Hagarty (the 
messenger). " I'm first ! I'm first ! Hurrah ! Where's the 
Liberator? I'm first !" 

They rushed into a drawing-room where O'Connell was 
seated between two ladies, O'Hagarty in his noisy delight still 
shouting, " I'm first ! I'm first ! You're free, Liberator ! 
thanks be to God for that same! The judgment's reversed." 

" Bah ! not true ; it can't be true," replied O'Connell 
coolly. 

" But it is true, Liberator." And the messenger showed 
him the placard which had been printed in London announcing 
the fact. He examined it attentively, and said to Fitzpatrick, 
" After all, this may be true" — when doubt was dispelled by 
the sudden appearance of the attorneys for the defence. 
" On the merits," were the first words of Mr. Ford, who 
threw his arms round O'Connell's neck and kissed him. 
O'Connell wore his green velvet Mullaghmast cap, and Ford 
wore a broad-brimmed beaver hat, oblivious in his ecstasy 
of the presence of the ladies. M On the merits," he triumph- 
antly repeated ; ' 1 no technicalities at all — nothing but the 
merits." 

The news had now spread through the prison, and the other 
prisoners crowded to the drawing-room to learn their fate. 
There was a quiet sort of triumph — no boisterous joy amongst 



216 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



the traversers. In the course of the evening O'Connell said 
to my informant in a tone of deep solemnity, " Fitzpatrick, 
the hand of man is not in this. It is the response given by 
Providence to the prayers of the faithful, stedfast, pious 
people of Ireland." 

It was near twilight when O'Connell left the prison to return 
to his house in Merrion- square. As he walked along the 
streets, the people at first gazed on him in bewildered astonish- 
ment. They could scarcely believe the evidence of their eyes. 
Was O'Connell indeed free ? They crowded round him to 
ascertain the fact ; the crowds augmented ; and by the time 
he arrived at the western end of Merrion- square, his friends 
were obliged to foi m a cordon round him to avert the incon- 
venient pressure of the delighted multitude. When he placed 
his foot on his own halldoor-step to re-enter the home from 
which he had for three months been iniquitously exiled, the 
popular ecstasy became uncontrollable. Cheer after cheer 
rose and swelled upon the air. The people gave vent to their 
wild delight in vociferous acclamations ; every heart beat high 
with pride and triumph at the liberation of their venerated 
leader — not by ministerial grace or royal favour, but by the 
strict and stern vindication of that law which had been so 
nefariously outraged in the trial and conviction. 

O'Connell appeared on the balcony and addressed the peo- 
ple briefly. He exhorted them to bear their victory with 
moderation. Let them, he said, demonstrate their fitness to 
rule themselves by the spirit of conciliation and friendliness 
with which they should enjoy their triumph. 

On the next day (Saturday, the 7th September), the libe- 
rated patriots passed in procession through the leading streets 
of the metropolis. It was a scene of indescribable excitement. 
When opposite the door of the old Parliament House in Col- 
lege-green, the cavalcade halted — O'Connell rose in his trium- 
phal car, uncovered his head, and pointed with significant 
emphasis to the edifice. Then there arose a mighty shout 
from the surrounding thousands — again and again did O'Con- 
nell, looking proudly around him, repeat his significant ges- 
ture ; again and again did the 'myriads who thronged the 
broad street upraise their glad voices in deafening cheers. It 
was like the roar of the ocean, that proud shout of a nation's 
triumph and a nation's hope. 

On Monday the 9th September the Association met ; the 
Lord Mayor of Dublin occupied the chair. Thousands 
were obliged to return from the door of Conciliation Hall, 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



217 



from the incapacity of that building to contain them. Floor, 
benches, galleries, all were full. The enthusiasm of O'Con- 
nell's reception was beyond the power of imagination to ex- 
aggerate. 

His speech embraced many topics. He exulted in the vin- 
dication of the constitution and of trial by jury. He showed, 
in reply to the cavils of the enemy, that the favourable deci- 
sion of the House of Lords was a direct decision on the 
merits, inasmuch as the sixth and seventh counts of the 
monster-indictment, which expressly charged the traversers 
with conspiracy to hold meetings to intimidate ; counts which 
contained the very essence of the prosecution ; counts on 
which judgment was directly and explicitly given against the 
traversers by the Irish judges ; counts upon which the convic- 
tion and sentence were ostentatiously justified ; these sixth 
and seventh counts were pronounced to be bad and invalid by 
the English judges and the English House of Lords ; although 
the English judges in condemning the counts, yet sanctioned 
the sentence that had been based on them, by the preposterous 
presumption that it was not on those counts, but on some 
others, that the Irish bench had rested their judgment ; a 
presumption notoriously contradicted by the fact, and by the 
charges of the Irish judges themselves. 

O'Connell next complimented the Whigs for their felicitous 
judicial appointments. He complimented Sheil, who had been 
harshly censured for seeming to solicit, as a matter of favour 
to the traversers, some concession from the government : 
" I was vexed and angry with Sheil at the time, that he 
should have uttered any words to which the meaning could be 
possibly attached of soliciting a favour on my part from Sir 
Robert Peel. Ah ! he ought to have known me better. He 
ought to have known that I would rather have rotted in jail 
than condescend to accept a favour from Peel. I said from 
the commencement — I announced it to the world — that, come 
what might, there should be no compromise or shrinking. 
There has been none ; and there is not a man of us who 
would not have died in jail rather than sully our hands by re- 
ceiving the slightest concession from our enemies. Sheil was 
wrong in that instance ; but he is one of those who can afford 
to be wrong once, for his country owes him a deep debt of 
gratitude. Oh, I cannot forget his past career — his glorious 
career ! I cannot forget how he ornamented and made inte- 
resting our struggle for Emancipation. When I was going on 
with my dull, prosy speech, wearying the public ear with the 

10 



218 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



monotony of my tones and accents, and with the continual re- 
petition of the same facts, Sheil used to burst forth in the 
dazzling effulgence of intellectual glory, irradiating our cause 
with the corruscations of his genius and the illumination of 
his powerful mind." 

O'Connell appealed with great force to his Protestant 
fellow-countrymen ; exhibiting the delusive nature of the 
fears of those who were still timid, by referring to his 
past pacific policy : " What are you afraid of ? Did we 
threaten ? Did we menace ? Did we overawe ? We were 
strong enough to commit violence ; nothing save the spirit 
of conciliation and love for each other could have brought 
us together in such multitudinous masses without violence. 
In the midst of a people who love me and trust me — with 
more power in my hands than any monarch in Europe enjoys" 
(here the speaker was interrupted with vehement cheering and 
waving of handkerchiefs), " so situated, how have I demeaned 
myself ? But first — how did I acquire that power ? I acquired 
it because of the conviction which every man, woman, and 
child feels that I would not abuse it. I have acquired it and 
retained it because I was congenial in opinion with the millions 
of my countrymen, and because they were perfectly persuaded 
that in the exercise of that power with which by their confi- 
dence they invested me, I would sedulously guard against the 
commission of any crime whatsoever. I have kept my com- 
pact, but I never could have done this without the assistance 
and co-operation of the Catholic clergy. They saw the jealous 
scrutiny with which our minutest movements were watched by 
our Protestant brethren ; they entered unreservedly into my 
views — and here is all the secret of my success. They knew 
me— they appreciated me. They knew that I was the first 
apostle and founder of that sect of politicians whose cardinal 
doctrine is this — that the greatest and most desirable of poli- 
tical changes may be achieved by moral means alone, and that 
no human revolution is worth the effusion of one single drop 
of human blood. Human blood is no cement for the temple 
of human liberty." 

Such were the leading topics of O'Connell's address on that 
important day. His manner and appearance corresponded 
well with the triumphant style of his language. Never were 
his spirits more elate, his step more elastic, his tone more ex- 
ulting. There was a fire in his eye, an eager vivacity in his 
voice, a buoyancy of heart, and a vigour of intellect in his 
address, that beseemed a nation's chief disenthralled from un- 



IRELAND AND I1ER AGITATORS. 



219 



just bondage, and impatient to devote his unfettered energies 
to the renewed battle for legislative freedom. 

It need not be told that the enthusiastic joy which animated 
Dublin was diffused through the whole kingdom. The glad 
news of the liberation was immediately telegraphed all over 
the land by signal-fires. Cresset answered cresset — mountain 
and valley started into light. You gazed into the dark dis- 
tance, and blaze after blaze sprang up. The red flame glowed 
in the sheltered hollow of the rock, and streamed in the light 
breeze on the hill-top. The heart and soul of the land re- 
joiced ; the exulting shouts of the people were borne far on 
the night wind ; glen, river, plain, and mountain were vocal 
with their triumph. Stirring sights — joyous sounds. I was 
in the country at the time — 150 Irish miles from Dublin. 
From the roof of my house on the banks of the Bandon river 
I looked on the national illumination. I omitted to reckon 
the number of fires, but I think it probable that from that one 
point not less than from sixty to seventy might have been 
counted. 

Heretofore our prospects looked well. O'Connell probably 
did not then know that his health had been fatally under- 
minded by his imprisonment, and there were not yet any ex- 
ternal indications that his strength was impaired. The re- 
versal of the judgment established his " legal infallibility," 
as the enemy ironically styled his extensive and accurate 
knowledge of the law. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

" Bold and true 
In bonnet blue, 
Who fear or falsehood never knew." 

Sir Walter Scott. 

Before tracing any farther the progress of O'Connell's agita- 
tion, I shall give a short account of the career of O'Connell's 
Head Pacificator, Mr. Steele. 

" Honest Tom Steele," as he was usually called, was born 
at Derrymore in the county Clare in 1788. His family uanie 
from Somersetshire in the reign of Charles II. Their name 
was then Champion, which they changed into that of Steele 
for reasons now unknown. William Champion, the lineal an- 
cestor of the Head Pacificator, was, I believe, an oilicer in 
Monmouth's regiment. He established himself near Nenagh 
in the county Tipperary. His first experiment as a settler 



220 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



was inauspicious, inasmuch as the Tipperary folk three times 
burned his house over his head, the proprietor on each occa- 
sion narrowly escaping with his life. Unwilling to incur the 
perils of a fourth combustion, he migrated to the more pacific 
county of Clare, where his posterity continued to reside. 

Steele received a university education at Cambridge, where 
he obtained distinction for his scientific acquirements. The 
death of an uncle placed him in possession of his family pro- 
perty in Clare, just at the time when the Spanish nation rose 
in insurrection against the tyrannical King Ferdinand VII. 
Steele, whose love of the cause of universal liberty has ever 
been associated with that total forgetfulness of self which the 
world calls imprudence, resolved to assist the Spanish insur- 
gents with his hand and fortune. He was said to have fitted 
out and filled with arms at his own expense a vessel which 
he brought to Cadiz ; but he told me that he had not com- 
mitted that piece of extravagance. He accepted a commission 
from the Cortes, and distinguished himself by his valour in 
several engagements against the French, who had invaded the 
country as the allies of a despotic monarch in order to perpe- 
tuate the bondage of the Spanish people.* 

When the struggle against despotism failed, Steele quitted 
Spain and returned to Ireland. He constantly attended the 
meetings of the Catholic Association, and watched with anxious 
scrutiny the words and actions of O'Connell. So soon as his 
judgment convinced him that O'Connell was a trustworthy 
leader, he immediately proclaimed his adhesion to the cause, 
and worked with zeal to remove those disabilities from the 
Catholics which he, as a Protestant, felt were disgraceful only 
to the party by whom they were inflicted. 

Notwithstanding the military bent of Steele's ideas, and the 
constitutional bravery of the man, he highly appreciated the 
value of O'Connell's moral-force system of political warfare. 
Seeing clearly that the wild and illegal combinations of White- 
feet, Ribbonmen, Terry-Alts, and other misguided parties 
assuming equally fantastic and absurd denominations, could 
only tend to embarrass the friends and injure the cause of 
rational liberty, he applied himself to the task of quelling dis- 
turbances in his native county, and of getting up arms from 
the misguided peasantry. 

* All this I stated, in concurrence with the common belief, in the first 
edition of this work. Steele said my account was inaccurate, but I think 
his correction only applied to the statement of his fitting out the vessel. 
But as 1 am not quite sure, I wish to guard the reader against accepting 
this part of the narrative as of undoubted verity. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



221 



There was in this occupation something peculiarly congenial 
to the wild and Ossianic spirit of Steele. He loved at night 
to traverse the mountain fastnesses of Cratloe ; to watch the 
dark low clouds slowly sailing through the heavens as he 
wandered along the lonely ravine by the side of the swollen 
brook, in whose midnight wave stars shimmered as they broke 
through the mists. These scenes had for Steele a charm of 
magical potency, especially when associated with the function 
of Head Pacificator which he discharged in the midst of them. 
His soul thrilled with an indefinable feeling, of which fancy, 
poetry, and patriotism were constituent parts, as he paused to 
hold communings with Nature in her sombre moods — to listen 
to the voice of the night-wind as it swept through the gloomy 
woods, and to catch the inspiration of the hills in his solemn, 
thoughtful, and imaginative, yet energetic career. He spent 
many a night in the cottages of the insurgent peasantry, en- 
deavouring to reclaim them from their driftless and mis- 
chievous conspiracies. In some of these nocturnal excursions 
O'Connell accompanied Steele. They got up a large quantity 
of arms. Steele, by constant and familiar association with 
his peasant countrymen, convinced himself that their crimes 
were principally, if not wholly, the fruits of oppression ; whilst 
he proudly recognised the traits of high and virtuous feeling 
which often appeared in their conduct. One instance of self- 
devoted heroism in five poor Terry-Alts he has often re- 
corded. 

There was a Mr. Smith who resided at Fort Fergus, and 
who, during the period when robberies of arms were frequent, 
habitually boasted that his house was so well defended that 
no insurgents would dare to attack it. Accordingly, the 
neighbouring gentry, having confidence in Smith's superior 
valour, entrusted the greater part of their arms to his keeping. 
It so chanced, however, that five Terry-Alts availed themselves 
one day of Mr. Smith's absence from home, entered the house, 
and carried off all the arms, notwithstanding that a party of 
constables had been left at Fort Fergus to guard them. There 
was a man prosecuted for the outrage on the evidence of the 
constables, whose sworn testimony was so contradictory that 
in any ordinary case the acquittal of the accused would have 
been certain. He was, however, tried by a special commis- 
sion ; and at special commissions jurors have too frequently 
deemed it their duty to hang as many men as possible. The 
prisoner was accordingly found guilty. 

On receiving the news of this verdict, the five Terry- Alts 



222 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



who had really taken the arms came to Steele, and said that 
if the innocent man who had been falsely convicted could be 
thereby saved,they would surrender the arms. They added 
that if his life could be obtained on no other terms than those 
of their dying in his place, they would all go to Ennis and 
give themselves up to the jailer. But there was no occasion 
for this sacrifice, as the condemned man was saved on a strong 
application in his favour to the government. 

In 1828 the Catholics resolved on opposing every member 
of the Peel- Wellington administration, whether personally 
hostile or friendly to their claims. That administration pre- 
tended to make the Catholic question an open one, at the 
same time contriving that all substantial power should be 
placed in the hands of those who opposed it. To end this 
delusion it was determined by the Catholics to start a candi- 
date for Clare in opposition to Mr. Yesey Fitzgerald, who had 
been nominated President of the Board of Trade by the Prime 
Minister. O'Connell conceived the idea of standing for the 
county. An unemancipated Catholic, chosen by the electors 
as their representative, yet disqualified by law from taking his 
seat, would present a striking impersonation of the Catholic 
grievances. O'Gorman Mahon proposed, and Thomas Steele 
seconded the nomination of O'Connell. The influence of this 
dexterous movement of the Agitator in accelerating Emancipa- 
tion is now matter of history. O'Connell presented himself 
at the table of the House of Commons to take his seat, but 
could not overleap the barrier of the Protestant oaths. Eman- 
cipation was hastily passed in the spring of 1829, and seldom 
has the shabbiness of personal enmity been more conspicuous 
than in the conduct of Sir Robert Peel, who, in admitting the 
Catholics to parliament, yet excluded O'Connell as having 
been unduly elected. Peel was unable to forgive O'Connell 
for having compelled him to emancipate. The exclusion was 
inoperative for any political object ; it was solely the result of 
personal spleen, for O'Connell — as everyone necessarily anti- 
cipated — was immediately re-elected by his former constitu- 
ents. 

In 1839 Steele addressed a letter to the King of the Belgians, 
requesting permission to bear arms as a volunteer in his 
majesty's service. An enthusiast in all his undertakings, 
Steele incurred the ridicule of persons who were incapable of 
appreciating, or even of comprehending, the intense fidelity to 
Ireland by which he was actuated. His very faults were often 
the exaggeration of high and noble qualities. If he shared 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



223 



the extravagance of Don Quixote, he also partook of the Don's 
contempt for baseness, perfidy, and cowardice. In his lan- 
guage there was undoubtedly a strong and marked peculiarity ; 
an occasional application of strong phrases to comparatively 
insignificant objects ; a blending of the ideal and poetic in 
undue proportions with the real and practical ; a disposition 
to seek illustrations of his views from sources too recondite 
for ordinary comprehension. But what of all that ? The 
man loved Ireland, and would have died for her with infi- 
nitely more pleasure than even the selfish place-hunter who 
sneered at his verbal eccentricities could derive from personal 
aggrandisement. The people of Ireland gave Steele full credit 
for his pure and single- hearted patriotism; and it would have 
been shame to them if they had not duly honoured the quali- 
ties of unsullied honour and enthusiastic love of freedom which 
pre-eminently distinguished him. 

If we smile at the poetic temperament of the orator who 
could harangue the peasantry of Connaught about the Scan- 
dinavian Edda, and deduce from Icelandic mythology, for the 
edification of the Connemara rustics, comparisons between 
O'Connell's policy and the antagonist influences of the 
Hrympthur and the Muspelthur ; if these eccentricities evoke 
a passing smile, it is on the other hand impossible to deny 
that Steele has a vivid perception of all that is grand and 
beautiful in external nature, and that he can portray his im- 
pressions with force, and grace, and delicacy. Take, for 
example, the following descriptive passages from a pamphlet 
published by Steele in 1828 :* 

" I passed late (it might have been about an hour after mid- 
night) along the Shannon side ; it was dark, and dreary, and 
stormy, in squally gusts, and frequent showers of heavy rain ; 
the moon sometimes, but very rarely, and without showing her 
form, lighted the clouds with a pallid watery light ; but so pale, 
and faint, and transitory, as in general to be perceptible for 
little more than a few moments between its apparition and evan- 
ishment. The night- wind sometimes sighed softly and mourn- 
fully on high, around the topmasts and lifts of the topsail 
yards of a ship near the wharf ; and sometimes the ' winde 
that whistleth and cryeth like doleful ghosts' did whistle and 
cry over the distant strand ; and sometimes at irregular and 
capricious intervals, when the strong squalls and gusts rushed 
from the mountains, it moaned and howled through the round 

* " Practical Suggestions on the Navigation of the River Shannon, &c. 
By Thomas Steele, Esq. London, 1828/ 



224 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



tops, and blocks, and condensed cordage of the shrouds. The 
solitude was dismal, for no one but myself was abroad by the 
river side. The Shannon had been swollen to a torrent by the 
incessant rains of the season, and the white foam on part of it 
faintly appeared through the darkness. The wild and dreary 
shrieks of some seagulls, or other water birds, which I could 
not see, were the only sounds of animated nature that smote 
my ear in that midnight desolation. The darkness deepened 
almost to blackness ; the rain came on and fell with violence 
and plashed and pattered upon the pavement near the wharf 
where I was standing ; and the sound of the rain, and the 
howling wind, and the roaring of the wide and rapid flood 
over its rocky bed, and the dreary shrieks of the sea-birds 
heard through the darkness, were sounds, at that hour, of 
solemn, deep, and mystic wildness. The whole scene and the 
hour were in accordance with the spirit of the time-— mys- 
terious, ghastly, wild. When I got home I wrote a description 
of it, and I said to myself while I was writing it, ' 'Tis a night 
to remember Limerick in its history.'" (pp. 84, 85.) 

Steele was a sort of political Ossian. The drifting shower, 
the mountain- mist, the sunbeam sparkling in the brook, the 
howling tempest, were all duly noted to illustrate exhortations 
to popular energy and perseverance. His public letters have 
been sometimes dated thus : " Country of Fingal ;" or, " Eagle 
Crags, O'Connell Mountains, Shores of the Atlantic." The 
next specimen of his descriptive powers is of a less gloomy 
character than the former : 

" There is a spot upon a mountain promontory in Fingal, 
where, in my early boyhood, external nature first burst upon 
my vision in beauty and sublimity — not separated, but in com- 
bination. Upon the eastern side of the solitary mountain 
where it shelves abruptly into the sea, and so near its summit 
that there was a glorious expanse of horizon, was a little foun- 
tain bursting among the rocks, and wild flowers, and sun- 
beams. A bee hummed over the flowers close to the fountain 
and its little rill ; some seagulls wheeled and floated in the 
air, high above the sea that broke upon the shore ; and there 
was a bark with white sails, holding on her course on the 
swelling tide. Whenever I call this scene to remembrance, 
i pure, bright, elysian,' it floats in my imagination like a vision 
of enchantment. This is the pure elysian enchantment of ex- 
ternal nature, without any intermixture of feeliugs inspired by 
the history of times of old. ' Canst thou loosen the bonds of 
Orion, or canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades V 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



225 



No ; and there are other sweeet influences, too, that while man 
retains his nature never can be bound : 

1 There is given 
Unto the things of earth that Time hath bent, 

A spirit's feeling 

There is a power 
And magic in the ruined battlement;' 

and when I stand in the ancient cathedral of Limerick, and 
listen to the choir and the organ ; when I hear the chant of 
the High Mass, the ringing of the mass-bell, and view the in- 
cense ascen ling from the altar in one of their convent chapels ; 
when I wander through the gardens of the holy sisterhood of 
St. Clare, and view their figures gliding among the gothic 
ruins, or when I stand within the sanctuary of their convent 
chapel ; when I sit npon the ancient bastion in St. Munchin's 
cemetery upon a gloomy evening, and listen to the sullen sough 
of the wind among the dark elms over my head, and the rush- 
ing flood of the Shannon that sweeps at its basement, and 
hear the roar of the bugles, the beat of the drum, and the 
voice of the trumpet within the court of the castle, I become 
inspired by a feeling solemn and mournful, different from that 
of which I am susceptible in any other place in the world ; 
but not very unlike that with which, upon the shore of the 
solitary lake where he reposes, I hear the wind whisper at 
night in the grass around the grave of my father, whom I have 
never seen." (pp. 125, 126.) 

How wild, how mystic, how impressive ! 

Steele's personal devotion to O'Connell is proverbial. Al- 
though a Protestant himself, he fitted up an apartment in his 
house in the county Clare as a chapel to be used for the cele- 
bration of Mass, whenever he should be visited by his mighty 
leader, as he delighted to designate O'Connell. He combined 
with this tribute to his political chief, his own devotion to 
Celtic antiquity, for the altar of the domestic chapel was a 
large, rude block of stone, which for ages had remained in the 
woods, grey, moss-grown, and solitary ; and which was averred 
by a rather vague tradition to have been used in pagan times 
for druidical rites, and subsequently for the celebration of the 
Catholic worship in the days of the penal persecution. 

Steele's declaration has often been quoted, that if O'Connell 
desired him to sit on a mine about to be sprung, he would im- 
plicitly obey the mandate. This, which from other lips would 
be hypocritical exaggeration, was with Tom Steele the strict 
truth. His faith in O'Connell's integrity and wisdom was in- 



226 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



tense. He deemed his incarceration as a fellow-conspirator 
with O'Connell the proudest honour of his life. 

The characteristics of Steele are easily summed up. Brave 
as a lion, thoroughly honest and straightforward, intensely de- 
voted to his country, incapable of thought or deed unbecoming 
a high-souled and chivalrous gentleman, he combined these 
qualities with a certain exuberant poetry of idea and of lan- 
guage, peculiarly liable to the criticism of the prosaic multi- 
tude. 

His office of Head Pacificator was conferred upon him by 
O'Connell, in consequence of the essential service which from 
time to time he rendered in getting up arms from the parties 
whom suffering and oppression had driven into turbulence and 
disaffection. He repeatedly attempted, and sometimes with 
success, to tranquillise disturbed districts. Those who regarded 
the Irish movement from a distance had little or no conception 
of the moral authority wielded by Steele when presenting him- 
self as O'Connell's ambassador to the turbulent inhabitants of 
districts where local tyranny had irritated its victims and their 
sympathisers into the commission of criminal acts. Steele, 
aided by the Catholic clergy, enjoined peace as the behest of 
Ireland's " mighty leader." The impressive singularity of his 
language would appear, on such occasions, to add force to the 
character assigned to him in the movement, by stamping on 
him an individuality peculiarly germane to the earnestness of 
purpose which was one of his most prominent characteristics. 

When the unfortunate division between the Young Inland- 
ers and the Old Irelanders (exasperated, I have not the least 
doubt, by mutual personal jealousies) rose to a height that 
permanently weakened the Eepeal Association, Steele of 
course adhered to O'Connell; but he could not shut his eyes 
to the decline of the Liberator's influence among the people. 
O'Connell refused to believe he had lost ground ; and John 
O'Connell ignored, as long as it was possible, the diminution 
of his father's popularity, although Steele pressed it earnestly 
upon his notice. 

I find, in one of Sir Bernard Burke's entertaining publica- 
tions, a picturesque description of the old castle called Craggan 
Tower in the county Ciare, which is stated to have been a 
favourite haunt of Mr. Steele, on whose property it stood. 

" The situation of Craggan Tower," says Sir Bernard, " is 
romantic and striking. It stands in the centre of a fertile 
valley upon a bold and, in some parts, almost perpendicular 
rock, surrounded on three sides by the deep waters of a small 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



227 



lake. On the west it is protected by an impassable morass, 
now planted with various aquatic shrubs and trees, and on the 
land, or northern side, by a deep cutting in the solid rock." 

We are told that Steele occasionally sought the solitude of 
Craggan. " Lonely on its bold isolated rock, it towered over 
the valley, and cast its dark shadow on the peaceful lake. 
The goats cropped the long grass on its deserted walls, and 
the hoarse notes of the owl or the raven alone broke in upon 

the stillness of its desolation This castle, 

and much of the surrounding lands, were recently the property 
of that misguided but noble-hearted and accomplished Irish- 
man, Mr. Tom Steele. In the wild and gloomy recesses of 
this ancient fortalice he found a haunt congenial to his own 
disappointed feelings and blighted hopes. Neglecting the 
substantial comforts of his house at Cullane, with its well- 
wooded park and its lovely lake, he preferred, during his 
short visits to this part of the country, to lurk within and 
about this old neglected tower ; he caused even some repairs 
to be made, and the initials of his name are to be seen on a 
large stone forming a portion of the norther coign of the 
building. It is even said that he meditated an entire restora- 
tion, but unfortunately his funds were wasted upon other ob- 
jects."* 

When O'Connell died, life lost all its savour for Tom 
Steele. His heart and soul had been wrapped up in the 
movement of which his departed chief was the leader. To 
him there seemed nothing now worth living for. The hideous 
visitation of famine laid waste the land he loved so well. His 
private means had been long since exhausted ; and it is pain- 
ful to record that he tried to put an end to the existence which 
was now become a burthen, by leaping into the Thames from 
one of the bridges of London. He was taken up alive, but 
greatly injured by his rash attempt. A benevolent English- 
man, the proprietor of Peele's Coffee House in Fleet-street, 
received the ill-fated agitator into his house, where he minis- 
tered with the utmost generosity and delicacy to the wants of 
poor Steele during the short remainder of his life. His re- 
mains were removed to Dublin, waked in Conciliation Hall, 
and interred near 0' Council's last resting-place in the ceme- 
tery of Grlasnevin. 

Steele's figure was tall and well proportioned, and had much 

* M Visitation of Seats and Arms," by Sir Bernard Burke, vol. ii. pp. 
183, 184. Craggan is said by Sir Bernard to have been purchased ani 
rendered habitable by an Englishman, Rev. John H. Ashworth. 



228 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



of a martial appearance, to which his undress blue military 
cap and frock-coat not a little contributed. His face was 
bronzed by exposure to all weathers and several climates, and 
the expression of his countenance was that of resolute deter- 
mination. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

* To hinder insurrection by driving away the people, and to govern peaceably by 
having no subjects, is an expedient that argues no great profundity in politics. To 
soften the obdurate, to convince the mistaken, to mollify the resentful, are worthy 
of a statesman; but it affords a legislator very little self-applause to consider that 
where there was formerly an insurrection, there is now a wilderness." 

Johnson's Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland. 

The Repeal agitation appeared to advance with increased 
momentum for some time after the liberation of O'Connell 
and his fellow-prisoners. But in October, 1844, O'Connell 
published a letter of great length, in which, without absolutely 
committing himself to what was called Federalism, he so far 
seemed to sanction it as to create some fear that he might 
recede from the principles of 1782. Federalism may briefly 
be described as a system of separate local parliaments for each 
island, for the regulation of their respective local or internal 
interests only ; whilst the external interests of the empire 
were to be controlled by an imperial congress sitting in Lon- 
don. O'Connell, by his Federalist letter, undoubtedly dis- 
turbed the confidence his followers had previously reposed in 
his leadership. But he speedily recanted his Federalist 
lapse, alleging that his letter had been merely an experiment 
to ascertain how far certain Northern Whigs were disposed to 
advance in that direction. Some of them, he said, had held 
out private promises to enrol themselves under a Federalist 
flag. He had unfurled the flag, and they came not. So 
Federalism was discarded as inadmissible, and the Irish con- 
stitution of 1782 was once more held forth as the great object 
of pursuit. There was no apparent diminution of the popular 
fervour. On the 30th May, 1845 — the anniversary of the 
imprisonment — O'Connell held a magnificent levee at the 
Rotundo, at which Smith O'Brien presented to him, and to 
his fellow-" conspirators," an address in the name of the Re- 
peal Association, breathing fidelity, and pledging perseve- 
rance. The display was as impressive as it could be made by 
gorgeous decorations, bannered processions, and the blended 
order and enthusiasm of the multitudes who thronged the 
streets and overflowed the building. English visitors in Dub- 



IRELAND AND TIER AGITATORS. 



229 



lin, who were present at the levee, expressed their admiration 
of the noble scene, and derived from it a strong conviction 
that the political purpose which had given it birth originated 
in a permanent, deeply-fixed principle, and not in a transitory 
impulse. 

The agitation went on. I visited Scotland in 1842, and 
again in 1843, and addressed meetings of the Irish who were 
settled in that kingdom. They cheerfully gave me substantial 
support for the Repeal Association. In June, 1845, I re- 
turned to Scotland, where the Irish once more gathered round 
me. We had meetings in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Airdrie, 
Aberdeen, and Dundee. I find in the report of my speech, 
delivered in the City Hall of Glasgow to a crowded audience, 
the following passage, which I quote because it gives a faithful 
picture of the Repeal confederacy in the imposing aspect it pre- 
sented at that period : 

" There is a portion of your address to which I have lis- 
tened with unalloyed delight. It is that in which you congra- 
tulate me on the rapid advances of our cause. I reciprocate 
your congratulations. Yes — let us rejoice together over the 
triumphs we have achieved and are daily achieving. Our 
connexions are extended ; old friends remain staunch and firin ; 
new friends join us with enthusiasm ; the Irish at home re- 
main true to their colours ; the Irish abroad, in Scotland and 
elsewhere — God bless them !" (great cheering) " the expatriated 
Irish all over the world have combined with the central body 
at Conciliation Hall in a firm and compact confederation, 
when has really no parallel in ancient or modern history. I 
repeat that our combination is unparalleled. There is not, 
there never has been, anything at all like it. To the eye of the 
philosopher and the Christian, the Irish people, at home, and 
dispersed all over the globe, present one of the most sublime 
spectacles it is possible to conceive. Trampled on, despoiled, 
slandered ; robbed of their political privileges ; assailed as 
they have been by the bigot, the tyrant, and the hollow 
friend — yet steadily advancing in the peaceful, crimeless path 
to freedom. Unscared by oppression, and repelling by their 
native sagacity all efforts to delude them, they at last have 
the land of promise full in view ; they will emerge from the 
land of Egypt and the house of bondage into the unfettered 
possession of self-government, so justly due to their virtue, 
their sagacity, their perseverance, their unprecedented organi- 
sation. And if the world admires, as it must, the moral 
phenomenon of our organised countrymen all over the globe, 



230 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



what is the tribute due to him whose creative genius gave 
birth to that magnificent confederacy — who shaped and 
moulded the innumerable energies of scattered millions into 
one vast engine of resistless potency ?" 

The reader will remember that at the time when those words 
were spoken, the description they contain was apparently borne 
out by the state of the Kepeal agitation. In addition to local 
associations in every town where Irish emigrants had settled 
in Scotland and England, we had large contingents all over 
North America. We received contributions from the colonies ; 
sometimes from Irishmen in India. The pecuniary remit- 
tances were generous and constant. The letters which ac- 
companied the money evinced in general a perfect acquiescence 
in O'Connell's policy of moral force and exclusively pacific 
action. The wrongful imprisonment, and the judgment reversed 
on appeal, seemed to place the agitators on a vantage ground 
higher than they would have occupied if they had been unmo- 
lested by Sir Robert Peel's government. For Peel had done 
his worst against them, and failed. He had borne unwilling 
testimony to the formidable strength of the Repeal agitation 
when he said, on the 18th April, 1845, " I believe the Irish 
agitation cannot be put down by force." As yet the public 
saw no symptoms of a dangerous division between Old and 
Young Ireland. But O'Connell's agitation had reached its 
culminating point. He became nervously anxious to repress 
ail indications of a warlike spirit among his Young Ireland 
allies ; whilst they, on the other hand, betrayed a growing in- 
clination to preach up the lawfulness of physical resistance to 
the government, of which impolitic course O'Connell antici- 
pated no other than the worst results. I have elsewhere ex- 
amined this topic of dispute at some length,* and shall not 
dwell farther on it in this place. Then there was the dispute 
about Whig patronage, the Young Irelanders warmly opposing 
all acceptance of office from the Whigs ; whilst O'Connell 
maintained that the agitation of Repeal would not suffer from 
the appointment to office of some of his followers. t An inti- 
mate friend of O'Connell's said to me at that time, " There is 
as great an outcry against O'Connell on the ground of govern- 
ment patronage, as if he had anything to gain, or was gaining 
anything by it." Personally, O'Connell gained nothing ; but 
a few hundreds a-year were given to two or three members of 
his family. 

* " Personal Recollections of O'Connell," vol. ii. p. 245. 
t For an account of this dispute, see the same work. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



231 



In September, 1845, Thomas Davis died after a week's ill- 
ness. He was the ablest of the Young Ireland party. His 
death was a serious loss to the cause, for he not only pos- 
sessed great information, great intellectual power, thorough 
honesty, and indomitable zeal, but he had also the gifts of 
calm temper and practical wisdom, which I have little doubt 
would have been exercised, had his life been prolonged, to 
restrain the indiscretions of the party who proclaimed him 
their prophet, their philosopher, and guide. 

The germs of dissension were rife in our body, and were 
daily developing into mischievous luxuriance. Meanwhile a 
terrible and mysterious dispensation visited the land. The 
potato crop of 1845 was partially blighted. Although serious 
fears were entertained, yet we flattered ourselves that the 
visitation would be transient, and that the crop of the follow- 
ing year would at least be of average value. 

The squabbles in the Association continued. Smith O'Brien 
had said with some humour, " I am neither Old Ireland nor 
Young Ireland; I am Middle-aged Ireland." When O'Con- 
nell, on the questions of public policy to which I have ad- 
verted, came to open warfare with the Nation newspaper, the 
organ of the Young Irelanders, O'Brien took part with the 
Nation ; angry debates consumed the time of the Association, 
and O'Brien, with a numerous following, seceded from that 
body. This was in 1846. 

Early in autumn it became apparent that the potato crop of 
1846 would be a total failure. Famine menaced the doomed 
land. For a detailed and faithful account of the horrors of 
that famine, I refer the reader to John Mitchel's clever little 
book entitled " The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps.)" 
Mr. Mitchel calls attention to the fact that Ireland, under the 
political conditions that afflicted her, was exporting a larger 
amount of food, contemporaneously with the potato-famine, 
than would have sufficed to support all her inhabitants — wheat, 
oats, barley, and cattle. Yet there was in political circles an 
established idea that Ireland contained a surplus population 
who ought to be shipped off. 

" Ireland, perhaps," says Mr. Mitchel, " was the only 
country in the world which had both surplus produce for ex- 
port and surplus population for export — too much food for her 
people, and too many people for her food." 

While myriads starved to death in Ireland, ships bursting 
with grain and laden with cattle were leaving every port for 
England. There would have been no need for the people to 



232 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



emigrate if their food did not emigrate. But the exhausting 
results of the Union had brought matters to a point that com- 
pelled Ireland to sell her food in order to supply the enormous 
money- drain. The food is first taken away, and then its price 
is taken away also. 

The horrors of the famine strongly illustrated the true 
nature of the Union, and the paramount need for a domestic 
parliament in Ireland. The potato-blight was indeed the visi- 
tation of Providence ; but the monstrous drain of Irish wealth, 
which deprived the people of a reserve to fall back upon, was 
the visitation of EDgland. The drain of absentee rents, 
averaged at £3,000,000 annually for the forty-six years the 
Union had then lasted, reached £138,000,000 sterling. If 
we average at £1,000,000 per annum the Irish taxes exported 
from Ireland during the same period, the combined drain will 
reach £184,000,000. It is impossible to calculate with accu- 
racy the amount of actual cash sent out of the country to pur- 
chase the articles of English manufacture which, after the 
Union, supplanted our own. If we average the drain on this 
head at £1,000,000 per annum,* the total loss on those three 
heads must have amounted in 1846 to £230,000,000. Had 
Ireland been self- governed, the greater part of that wealth 
would have remained at home, furnishing a fund for industry, 
circulating among the people by whose labour it had been 
produced, forming numberless reservoirs of humble opulence, 
and thereby enabling the people to tide over the calamity of 
the potato-blight. But the Union had stripped them of their 
means, and the only alternatives left to the perishing multi- 
tudes were the workhouse, emigration, or the grave. Yes — . 
the potato-blight was the visitation of Providence ; but the 
famine was the visitation of England. There were advances 
of money from government to employ the people upon unpro- 
ductive works. Of these the mismanagement was demo- 

* I have not the least doubt that it is a great deal more. But I have 
not access at present to data which would throw sufficient light on the 
question ; and 1 prefer what I am sure is an understatement to the dan- 
ger of exaggeration. We learn from the Castlereagh Correspondence, 
vol. iii. pp. 483, 484, that in 1800 the cotton trade at Belfast, Balbiiggan, 
Dublin, and Cork, employed large numbers of people, and was stated by 
Mr. Hamilton of Balbriggan to retain in Ireland £250,000 per annum. 
And Mr. Clarke tells Lord C. that he had expended £20,000 in setting up 
the cotton business at Palmerstown, county Dublin, which gave constant 
support to 1,000 persons, men, women, and children. These casual 
statements regarding one single branch of manufacture are extremely 
suggestive. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



233 



ralising ;* and although the amount of the advances was not 
more than a few pence in the pound of the vast sums England 
had in various ways extorted from Ireland since the Union, 
yet the Times kept up a constant outcry that Irish paupers 
were thrown for support on English wealth ; complained that 
every industrious family in England had a starving Irish 
family mounted on their backs ; proposed with characteristic 
jocularity (as an Irish famine was a ludicrous event) that 
" some Baron Munchausen should immediately plant the 
Emerald Isle with ten million quartern-loaf-trees, and the 
same number of roast-beef-and-leg-of-mutton-trees in full bear- 
ing and distanced all its other feats by announcing with due 
gravity that if it were not for the Union, the Irish would not 
have a meal to eat ! 

Meanwhile the people were fast perishing. There were 
many humane and munificent persons in England who sub- 
scribed their money with princely generosity to relieve the 
sufferers. All honour to those noble and benevolent hearts. 
Money, and vessels laden with food, were sent by American 
friends. But the calamity was too great to be effectually alle- 
viated by the efforts of individual charity, however extensive. 

It is here proper to observe that the Union-plunder has 
been destructive not only to the material interests of this 
island, but in many cases also to the souls of the Irish whom 
it forces out of their country. The Bishop of Toronto ad- 
dressed to the Bishops of Ireland a most painful statement on 
this subject in May, 1861, from which I extract a few sen- 
tences : " The Germans, French, and even the Norwegians, " 
says his lordship, * 1 come [to America] provided with the 
means of establishing themselves, either as farmers or me- 
chanics ; but the large majority of the Irish come absolutely 
penniless ; and hence they cannot reach the interior of the 
country, and are obliged to look for the cheapest lodgings in 
the cities ; and everyone knows that such places are the haunts 
of vice. The consequence is, they and their children are lost 
to morality, to society, to religion, and, finally, to God." 

Again, his lordship says, " The number of good Irish girl3 
who arrive at New York and the other seaboard cities is pro- 
digious. Many of them are destitute of means and friends ; 
they are obliged, by their poverty, to take situations wherever 
they can get them, and as soon as possible. Hence they fall — 

* For an excellent and instructive account of the advances, their pur" 
pose, and their mismanagement, see Mr. Mitchel's u Last Conquest o 
Ireland (Perhaps)." 



2B4 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



not an easy prey either, but after many struggles — into the 
thousand snares which profligate cities throw in their way. 

. It is humiliating indeed to see numbers of poor 
Irish girls, innocent and guileless, sitting around in those large 
depots in seaport cities waiting to be hired. Men and women 
enter those places, and look around to find out the girl that 
would apparently answer their service. How many of them 
found the protection of the wolf is known only to God." 

The Bishop of Toronto quotes the late Bishop of Charleston, 
Dr. England, as having estimated the number of souls lost to 
the Church in his own diocese, up to 1838, at 50,000. 

The emigration, then considerable, received a prodigious 
momentum from the famine and its resulting miseries, and also 
from the largely increased money- drain from Ireland in the 
shape of additional taxes, imposed by Mr. Gladstone while the 
national calamity still bore hard upon the people. 

It is scarcely necessary to say that the famine greatly 
weakened political agitation. If, on the one hand, it afforded 
a terrible demonstration of the paramount necessity for home- 
government, on the other hand it deprived us of the means 
which were indispensable to the efficiency of our efforts. 
O'Connell entered his seventieth year on the 6th August, 
1846. His health, which had for some time been manifestly 
giving way, was seriously affected by his mental anxieties. 
These were great and grievous. He saw with unspeakable 
pain the fatal division in the Repeal ranks, and his heart 
shrank within him at the horrible affliction of the famine. In 
January, 1847, he quitted Ireland; and after a short sojourn 
in England, proceeded to the Continent en route to Genoa, 
where he died on the 15th of May. 

John O'Connell still continued to administer the lingering 
remnant of the Repeal Association. The Young Irelanders 
had set up a Repeal League of their own, which seeemed to 
monopolise what remained of the popular activity. Its meet- 
ings were addressed by Smith O'Brien, Meagher, Duffy, 
Mitchel, and other prominent seceders. I was extremely 
anxious that the two bodies of Repealers should be re-united, 
and I explained, at some length, to Mr. Smith O'Brien, the 
conditions upon which I considered such re-union possible, 
consistently with the honour of all parties. From O'Brien, 
with whom I corresponded from time to time, I had a long 
letter dated 31st December, 1847, stating the conditions upon 
which alone he was willing to consent to the proposed re-union. 
One of his conditions was that the existing Association, 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



235 



founded by O'Connell, should be dissolved, and that both 
parties should concur in the formation of a new society. I 
knew that the Old Irelanders would not consent to this condi- 
tion ; and as O'Brien insisted on it as a sine qua non, I did 
not at that time press the matter any farther. 

Notwithstanding the continued pressure of terrific distress 
from the failure in successive years of the potato crop, the 
Young Irelanders persevered in the agitation of Repeal. Pro- 
testant Repeal Associations were instituted in Dublin, Drogheda, 
and Lurgan. There was one of these in Belfast, of which a 
respectable physician, Dr. Beck, was honorary secretary. It 
will be remembered that Mr. Sharman Crawford had at one 
time been an avowed Repealer, but that he opposed O'ConnelPs 
agitation when invited to join the Repeal Association. O'Con- 
nell was now dead, and Mr. Crawford returned to his earlier 
opinions. As the unswerving advocate of the Irish small 
farmer, he filled for many years a conspicuous position in Irish 
politics ; and in the present hasty record of the various phases 
of the Repeal agitation, I think the following extracts from his 
letter to Dr. Beck are worthy of a place : 

" London, July 15th, 1848. 

" Sir — I have received the communication with which you 
honoured me, containing the address issued by the Protestant 
Repeal Association of Belfast. 

M I have long been of opinion that the centralization of 
imperial legislation was unfit for Ireland ; but if I had any 
doubt on the subject the proceedings and results of the two 
,last sessions have been sufficient to remove them, and to raise 
in my mind the positive conviction that Englishmen and 
Scotchmen, sitting in the imperial legislature, have neither the 
knowledge nor the feelings towards Ireland necessary to qualify 
them for just and useful legislation ; that the numerous sub- 
jects on which parliament is required to legislate do not leave 
the time necessary to attend to the interests of a country in 
the condition of Ireland ; that the same system of legislation 
which is applicable to the circumstances of England and Scot- 
land is not applicable to Ireland ; and an equally strong con- 
viction that Irish members sent to the imperial legislature 
under the present system of election, removed from the cor- 
recting control of the people, and having no real responsibility 
for the laws passed for Ireland, will be generally neglectful of 
their duties, and will not even use the powers they possess to 
advance the interests of their country. 

" I see no remedy for this state of things other than a re- 



236 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



preservative body for Ireland, elected by such a system of 
suffrage and laws of election as will constitute them the fair 
representatives of the voices and interests of the nation. 

<f I do not deny that contingent objections may be made to 
the system of two legislative bodies under the same crown. I 
have stated these objections on former occasions, and with 
that view advocated the federative principle of connexion ; bat 
this proposition received no support, and I know it would be 
more strongly objected to by British representatives than the 
simple repeal of the Legislative Union. But I am now of 
opinion that the necessity for a local legislative body has be- 
come so manifest and imperative that minor objections must 

be yielded So long as I thought that there was 

a chance that the system of imperial legislation could be 
brought to act for practical good, I was not much inclined to 
agitate for a change ; but that hope has now entirely vanished 
from my mind. I, therefore, feel myself bound to give up 
minor objections, and assent to the principle of legislative in- 
dependence as acknowledged by the constitution of 1782, 
subject to such modifications as would seem best suited to 
guard against collisions on matters of imperial interest affect- 
ing the connexion of the two countries under an imperial 
crown. 

" I believe that Protestant power is capable of resisting 
aggression from any quarter; and therefore that aggression 
would never be attempted, unless provoked by Protestant in- 
justice. 4 

6 ' 1 highly approve the sentiments contained in the published 
address to which your name is attached, and wishing your 
association every success, I am, Sir, your obedient 

" W. Sharman Crawford. 

" J. W. Beck, Esq., M.D." 

The Protestant Repealers, possessing ability, respectable 
position, and a powerful case, were beginning to produce a 
strong impression on the minds of their fellow-religionists of 
the humbler classes. In order to counteract their progress, 
the fanatical bellows were kept in full blast. Preachers, 
orators, and writers, whose idea of Christianity appeared to 
be confined to the duty of hating the Papists and shouting 
' ' To hell with the Pope I" now bellowed about Antichrist, 
romanced about apocalyptic numerals, ranted about the Inqui- 



IRELAND AND HEPw AGITATORS. 



237 



sition, threatened that if Repeal were obtained the Papists 
would ride roughshod over the Protestants ; and by rude and 
vigorous appeals addressed to the sectarian prejudices of their 
fellow-Protestants, succeeded in creating among them a fana- 
tical determination to perpetuate, so far as in them lay, the 
servitude and spoliation of their country. 

Meanwhile Smith O'Brien and his allies continued to agi- 
tate — not in O'Connell's mode. The fiery eloquence of some 
of the Young Irelanders had withdrawn the minds of numbers 
from the moral-force policy by which O'Connell had gained 
his victories ; insomuch that Steele, a few months before 
O'Connell's death, had declared with poignant grief that the 
moral-force wand had been broken to pieces in the hand of 
the great magician. The sterling honour, the pure and lofty 
spirit, and the single-hearted patriotism of Smith O'Brien 
were unquestionable. He was hurried into actions of enor- 
mous imprudence by the impulses of generous indignation. 
He saw the physical miseries of his countrymen ; he saw the 
political prostration of Ireland ; he saw the callous contempt 
with which the suffering multitudes were treated by a large 
class of British politicians ; he saw in the want of home- 
government the source of these horrible evils, and the sight 
maddened him. He, Meagher, and others, set on foot the 
system of local clubs. On the 20th July, 1848, he wrote to 
me, exhorting me to establish clubs in all places within my 
reach. I did not establish clubs, which were part of a system for 
arming the people ; and any scheme of armed or physical 
resistance by a population stricken to the earth by famine, 
and destitute of every element of probable success, I could 
only regard with the gravest apprehension and the deepest 
sorrow. Many years later, I recollect seeing in the news- 
papers a letter from Mr. O'Brien, in which he stated that 
while ready to bear his full share of the responsibilities 
attaching to the unfortunate events of 1848, he had received 
representations or promises — he did not say from whom — 
which (if I remember aright) were calculated to encourage 
hopes of a different result, but which promises were not rea- 
lised.* 

O'Brien had come into collision with the law. He, Meagher, 
Leyne, and O'Donoghue were arrested. Martin of Kilbroney, 
Duffy, Williams, and O'Doherty were all in prison, waiting 
their trials. MacManus was also captured. The trials of 

* I write this from memory ; I have not a copy of the letter in which 
O'Brien made the statement referred to. 



238 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



O'Brien and his immediate companions took place at Clonmel 
in October, 1848. Sentence of death was pronounced against 
them, which was afterwards commuted into banishment. 

The aspect of the country was now most melancholy. 
Despair seemed to cast a black funeral pall over the land. 
For some years the potato-crop was a failure. The people 
either crowded the workhouses, or took flight to America. 
Travel where you would, deserted and ruinous cabins met the 
eye on every side. You frequently met large parties of emi- 
grants proceeding to the seaports ; the exodus consisting 
principally of the youth and strength, the bone and sinew of 
the population. Every emigrant treasured up wrath in his 
heart against the power that forced him out of the land of his 
birth. 

Meanwhile there was a lull in politics, and the anti-national 
classes flattered themselves that the people had been starved 
and terrified into helpless provincialism. But — to adopt a 
phrase employed by Mr. Aubrey De Vere upon another sub- 
ject — quiescence is a very different thing from acquiescence. 
The national mind was never more dissatisfied. 

In the summer of 1849, Queen Victoria was advised to come 
to Ireland. Her Majesty came, and the Times, of course, had 
a characteristic flourish on the royal visit. 

" At this moment," said the leading journal, " the Sove- 
reign of the empire goes as the ambassador between two of its 
constituent nations to extinguish the embers of a flickering 
jealousy, and ratify an amnesty of attempted wrong. The 
Queen is at this moment the representative of English feeling, 
and forgiveness ." 

66 Now," says Dirk Hatteraick to Glossin, " strafe mich 
der deyfel ! — this provokes me more than all the rest ! You 
rob and you murder ,^and you want me to rob and murder, 
and play the silver- cooper, or kidnapper, as you call it, a 
dozen times over, and then — hagel and wind-sturm ! you 
speak to me of conscience /" 

Pretty much in like manner did the Times talk of " English 
forgiveness." You destroy our legislature — you grasp our 
surplus revenue — you extinguish our manufactures — you en- 
joy our absentee rents — you thus reduce this land to pauper- 
ism, and slay its inhabitants by wholesale ; and then you tell 
us that you forgive us for it all ! 

The Times showed scant respect to the Queen in represent- 
ing her Majesty as the ambassador of this astounding species 
of forgiveness. It was clearly irreverent to associate a 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



239 



Sovereign's venerated name with such a piece of jocular im- 
pertinence. 

The Queen was received with the respect and courtesy due 
to her position and character. After staying a few days, she 
went away. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

" How thrive we by the Union ? 
Look round our native land; 
In ruined trade and wealth decayed, 

See Slav'ry's surest brand. 
Our glory as a nation gone, 

Our substance drained away — 
A wretched province trampled on, 
Is all we've left to-day. 

Then curse with me the Union, 

That juggle foul and base, 
The baneful root that bore such fruit 
Of ruin and disgrace." 

Spirit of the Nation. 

The disturbed state of Italy, the prevalence of insurrection, 
the movements especially which menaced the temporal power 
of the Pope, elicited from statesmen and journalists in Eng- 
land the most fervid declarations of the right of all nations to 
choose their own governments. Said Lord John Russell, 

"I think, with regard to this matter of states and nations regu- 
lating their own governments, that it is not very different from 
that of a man in a city — say the city of Aberdeen — regulating 
his own house. I think we are bound to say, and we do say, 
and we have said, that against any interference by foreign 
force to prevent those peoples having their own government, 
and conducting their affairs as they like, we do loudly and 
solemnly protest." 

During the year 1860, the doctrine thus proclaimed by Lord 
John, was preached by English journalists, who of course over- 
looked its manifest application to Ireland. Said the Times, 

" That government should be for the good of the governed, 
and that whenever rulers wilfully and persistently postpone 
the good of their subjects, either to the interest of foreign 
states or to abstract theories of religion or politics, the people 
have a right to throw off the yoke, are principles too often ad- 
mitted and acted upon to be any longer questioned." 

" Europe," said the Daily News, " has over and over again 
affirmed that one principle on which the Italian question de- 
pends, and to which the inhabitants of Central Italy appeal — 
the right of a people to choose its own rulers." 



240 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Another utterance of the Times : 

" The goodness or badness of a government should be esti- 
mated with reference, not to abstract rules, but to the opinions 
and feelings of the governed." 

" As free Englishmen, " said the Sun, " we assert the right 
of the Komans, and of all nations, to have governors of their 
own choice." 

" England," said the Times, " has not scrupled to avow her 
opinion that the people of the Roman States, like every other 
people, bave a right to choose their own government, and the 
persons in whose hands that government shall be placed." 

Again, the Times told its readers that 

" The destiny of a nation ought to be determined, not by 
the opinions of other nations, but by the opinion of the nation 
itself. To decide whether they are well governed or not, or 
rather whether the degree of extortion, corruption, and cruelty 
to which they are subject, is sufficient to justify armed resist- 
ance, is for those who live under that government — not for those 
who, being exempt from its oppression, feel a sentimental or 
a theological interest in its continuance."* 

Now here are political canons which more than sustain the 
demand of the Irish for a Repeal of the Union. Applying to 
Ireland, for instance, with a slight verbal alteration, the Italian 
doctrine of ihsTimes, the dictum of the leading journal teaches 
us that " the destiny of Ireland ought to be determined, not 
by the opinion of England, but by the opinion of the nation 
itself. To decide whether the Irish are well governed or not, 
or rather whether the degree of extortion, corruption, and 
cruelty to which they are subject, is sufficient to justify armed 
resistance, is for those who live under that government, not 
for those who, being exempt from its oppression, feel a senti- 
mental or a theological interest in its continuance." 

Smith O'Brien decided that the degree of extortion, cor- 
ruption, and cruelty to which his countrymen were subject, 
was sufficient to justify armed resistance. The extortion con- 
sists in an annual tribute of many millions sterling drained 
out of the kingdom to England. The corruption consists of 

* The above extracts, with many others from different authorities 
bearing upon Irish questions, have been collected by A. M. Sullivan, pro- 
prietor of the Nation, in the " Irish National Almanac and Historical 
Remembrancer/' a most useful and well-compiled publication, in which 
the anniversaries of Irish events of personal, political, or historical im- 
portance are substituted for the anniversaries of English and other foreign 
incidents, in which other almanacs abound, and in which the Irish reader 
cannot take much interest. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



241 



bribes, whetber in places or in exclusive institutions, with 
which educated men are purchased to uphold the giant wrong, 
or at least to be silent respecting it. The cruelty consists in 
the sufferings necessarily sustained by the multitude from the 
enormous pecuniary extortion which defrauds them of the 
natural fund which Providence has given for their support. 
Were there such a state of things in any continental country, 
Earl Russell and the Times would of course preach the right 
of the oppressed to resist, and to be the sole judges not only 
of the necessity for resistance, but of the precise mode of re- 
sisting. But when Ireland is in question, the English friends 
of continental liberty take a different view of duties and re- 
sponsibilities. In the days of O'Connell's agitation the Times 
declared that even were the Union gall to Ireland, it should 
be maintained. And no doubt the Times, and all the other 
British sympathisers with continental insubordination, would 
at any time renew that declaration. 

Politics in Ireland had apparently gone to sleep. A Con- 
servative friend said to me, " How completely politics have 
died out! there x are no political parties now." A Protestant 
clergyman said, " The people only care about their turnips ; 
they don't care now for politics." In both cases the wish was 
probably father of the thought ; but it is true that the surface 
was as calm as it could be made by pinching want and by 
dire anxiety to obtain the bare means of existence. 

During Mr. Smith O'Brien's banishment he composed a 
work entitled, " Thoughts on Government, by an Exile." In 
1856 he was permitted to return to Ireland. He expressed 
great delight at beholding his native land once more. His 
return was hailed with hearty satisfaction by all classes of his 
countrymen. For his high and unsullied character and the 
genial kindness of his disposition had won the respect and re- 
gard of even his political opponents. 

In 1860 some gentlemen who were considerably struck with 
the fervid enthusiasm for the Bights of Nations which glowed 
in the columns of the English press, considered that it was 
a good opportunity to take the English apostles of liberty 
at their word, aud to put in a claim on behalf of Ireland. 
A Declaration was drawn up by a committee in Dublin, and 
circulated through Ireland for signatures. It suggested a 
plebiscite, and asserted the immortal principles of 1782. It 
received between 400,000 and 500,000 signatures. It was 
forwarded with a loyal and respectful address to the Queen, 
and entrusted to the care of Sir George Grey for presentation 

11 



242 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



to her Majesty. I am not aware that Sir George so much as 
acknowledged the receipt of the document. 

On the 4th December, 1860, a meeting was held at the 
Rotundo in connexion with the movement ; The O'Donoghoe, 
M.P., was in the chair. The Round Room was filled to in- 
convenience, and the meeting showed that the spirit which had 
animated the vast gatherings in O'ConnelPs day was yet alive 
and vigorous. Excellent speeches were made by John Francis 
Maguire and John Martin. One of the secretaries of the 
meeting was an intelligent young man named Joyce, about 
two or three-and-twenty years of age. I said to him, " You 
are so young that you cannot have had any part in O'Connell's 
movement; whence do you derive your Repeal principles?" 
" They are born with us," was his answer. 

The Irish political movements since 1860 have been chiefly 
an attempt by Mr. Martin of Kilbroney, a Presbyterian gentle- 
man of the county Down, and The O'Donoghoe, to establish a 
National League for the recovery of our national constitution 
of 1782. The League was formed in January, 1864. It pub- 
lished in the Irish, English, French German, Italian and 
Spanish languages a brief abstract of some of the most flagrant 
wrongs resulting from the Union. The French version of that 
document has recently been republished in Paris at the expense 
of the Marquis de Nettancour. 

The First Annual Report of the League was issued in Fe- 
bruary, 1865. The Second Annual Report, which was issued in 
February, 1866, records that, owing to a concurrence of adverse 
circumstances, the Irish nationalists at home did not gather in 
large numbers round the centre formed by Mr. Martin and The 
O'Donoghoe, but that in Australia a generous movement in 
support of the League had been commenced, and was still con- 
tinued. The Report announces the sympathy of the Irish settlers 
and of the descendants of Irish settlers throughout New South 
Wales. The movement had spread into Queensland also. " If 
the Irish people at home," the document proceeds to say, 
' 1 could be persuaded to declare frankly and openly the truth 
of their convictions and their wishes, and to present themselves 
before the world as a people robbed of their national right and 
seeking its restoration, we are confident that not only the Irish 
of all the Australian colonies, but the Irish of Canada and all 
the other American colonies, and the millions of Irish of the 
United States, would cordially give us their aid." 

Unluckily the Irish of the United States had at that time 
embarked in the Fenian experiment, and their emissaries in 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



243 



this country had succeeded in destroying to a large extent the 
faith of our countrymen at home in constitutional agitation. 
Many, whose feelings and principles were identical with ours, 
were saddened into inaction. Many were seduced by sheer 
desperation into the Fenian ranks. Many were led to unite, 
not with the League, but with the National Association, in- 
augurated 29th December, 18G4, and embracing in its pro- 
gramme the improvement of the land-laws, the disendowment 
of the State Church, and the freedom of Catholic educa- 
tion. 

Let me here respectfully repeat the appeal I have made in 
a previous chapter to the Irish in America. I implore them 
to discard from their policy the republican element. There is 
not, I am certain, a single man amongst them who would not 
hail with delight the re-establishment of the constitution of 
1782. We have the strongest possible demonstration of the 
ample efficacy of that constitution in making Ireland prosper- 
ous. Millions of the Irish at home desire its restoration be- 
yond all other earthly objects. One of its essential conditions 
is the identity of the Sovereign of these two islands. Do not, 
then, needlessly augment the difficulties in our path by intro- 
ducing a project which would assuredly enlist against you a 
majority of the Irish at home. Adopt a legal and constitu- 
tional policy — a policy which, if wisely administered, is capable 
of welding the Irish at home and their dispersed compatriots 
into one compact mass, formidable in their numbers; formidable 
in the truth and justice of their cause ; formidable in the legal 
safety of their position ; formidable in the magical strength of 
being, both in principle and in practice, thoroughly in the 
right. For republicanism in America I entertain the highest 
respect. But whoever is conversant with the actual political 
condition of the various Irish parties, must know that any 
attempt to embody the republican principle with a scheme tore- 
store to Ireland self-government, bespeaks its own failure at the 
outset. It is simply and inevitably self-destructive. 

There is an influential portion of the British press inces- 
santly engaged in the diffusion of false and calumnious state- 
ments about Ireland. An immense circulation sends these 
statements to the ends of the earth. The Irish scattered over 
the globe could effectually repel the misrepresentations of the 
enemy by uniting with a central institute in Dublin in our 
claim of right and in our peaceful protest against the monster- 
wrong of 1800, so as to enlist in our behalf the public opinion 
of the civilized world. Such a protest and demand, made by 



244 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



the vast majority of the Irish population who are yet unex- 
pelled, backed by the support or sympathy of the Irish in 
Australia and Canada, and the United States and Great 
Britain, " would not," says the Second Eeport of the League, 
" fail this time, provided that the Irish nationalists bring the 
quality of earnest perseverance to their task, undeterred by 
the occasional defeats which are always incidental to the 
struggles for just freedom against power." 

"With the examples before us," says the Report, "of 
Canada, the Cape, the Australian colonies, the Ionian isles, all 
which states have obtained self-government, ... we have 
reason to apprehend no obstinate resistance to such a move- 
ment if renewed in these times." 

The American Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, has expressed 
strong opinions on the subject of the Union. Writing in 1853, 
as appears by the Boston Pilot, he says, when describing a 
visit to the Irish Parliament House, " While traversing its 
apartments, I reverted to the debate when the degenerate re- 
presentatives surrendered their parliament ; and I thought 
that had I occupied a place there, I would have seen English 
armies wade in blood over my country before I would have 
assented to so disgraceful a Union." Again, in the same 
letter, Mr. Seward says, " I confess that, overleaping all 
obstacles which are deemed by many well-wishers of Ireland 
insurmountable, I wish the repeal of the Union. I will not 
believe that if relieved of that oppressive act, she does not 
possess the ability to govern herself." 

Mr. Seward is quite right. Ireland, after 1782, displayed 
an ability for self-government that resulted in great national 
prosperity — how and by whom overthrown the reader knows. 
Prior to that date the usurped power of the English parlia- 
ment had produced a state of things unfavourable to the de- 
velopment of Irish intellect, even among the Protestants. The 
Catholic Irish of ability and ambition were compelled by penal 
laws to seek foreign fields for the exercise of their mental 
qualities. As to the stuff they were made of, hear the evidence 
of Dean Swift : " I cannot," says the Dean, " but highly 
esteem those gentlemen of Ireland who, with all the disadvan- 
tages of being exiles and strangers, have been able to distin- 
guish themselves by their valour and conduct in so many parts 
of Europe, I think above all other nations ; which ought to 
make the English ashamed of the reproaches they cast on 
the ignorance, the dulness, and the want of courage in the 
Irish natives ; those defects, wherever they happen, arising 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



245 



only from the poverty and slavery they suffer from their in- 
human neighbours, and the base, corrupt spirit of too many 
of the chief gentry."- 

Lord Macaulay, who had certainly no Irish sympathies, 
bears similar testimony to the fertility of Ireland in mental 
wealth. Speaking of the Irish whom the penal laws sent to 
seek their fortunes abroad, his lordship says : " There were 
indeed Irish Eoman Catholics of great ability, energy, and 
ambition ; but they were to be found everywhere except in 
Ireland — at Versailles and St. Ildefonso, in the armies of 
Frederick and in the armies of Maria Theresa. One exile be- 
came a Marshal of France. Another became Prime Minister 

of Spain In his palace at Madrid he 

had the pleasure of being assiduously courted by the am- 
bassadors of George II., and of bidding defiance in high terms 
to the ambassador of George III. Scattered all over Europe 
were to be found brave Irish generals, dexterous Irish di- 
plomatists, Irish counts, Irish barons, Irish knights of St. 
Louis and St. Leopold, of the White Eagle and of the Golden 
Fleece, "f 

Such is Macaulay's description of Irish Catholic intellect in 
exile. Of Irish Protestant intellect at 1 home we have noble 
representatives in Malone, Pery, Flood, Foster, Yelverton, 
Grattan, Curran, Saurin, Plunket, Bushe, Goold, Butt, White- 
side, and numerous others. Our American sympathiser, Mr. 
Secretary Seward, does not assume too much when he states 
his belief that a country so prolific of high intellectual quali- 
ties possesses the ability to govern herself. Independence 
quickly teaches its own uses. The brave Irish generals, 
the dexterous Irish diplomatists, of whom Macaulay speaks, 
were as competent to regulate the military and political affairs 
of their own country as to lead the armies and govern the 
councils of the foreign lands where fate had placed them. 
The penal laws deprived Ireland of the services of her Catholic 
intellect. The Union deprives Ireland of the best and highest 
services of her intellect, both Catholic and Protestant ; for it 
banishes the legislative body in which that intellect could find 
its greatest, its noblest, its most useful exercise. 

In 1864 Colonel (now General) Dunne, member for the 
Queen's county, obtained, but not without much difficulty, a 
committee to investigate the question of Irish taxation. It 
included eight English and seven Irish members. In the 

* Swift to Sir Charles Wogan, July, 1732. 
t History of England, chapter xvii. 



246 IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 

proceedings of that committee, as I have elsewhere remarked, * 
there is nothing more constantly and prominently manifest 
than that the English members assume as an axiom that 
Ireland has no right to her own revenues. " England, under 
the convenient name of * the Empire,' is assumed to be the 
rightful owner of the revenues of Ireland. England, in their 
view, is entitled to grasp all the Irish revenue she can lay 
hold on, and is not bound to refund anything. The Union is 
practically interpreted to be an identification of burthens and 
of taxes, but not of benefits or of expenditure. < The Empire' 
means England when there is question of outlay, but it is held 
to include Ireland when there is question of taxation. The 
English members disregard the disparity of the two pre-Union 
debts, which, although it is the very pith and marrow of our 
case, yet forms no part of the ground on which Sir Stafford 
Northcote appears to have arrived at the conclusions in his 
report." 

Yet in spite of the foregone conclusions of the English 
members, General Dunne succeeded in extorting an admission 
that Ireland is grievously and disproportionately over-taxed. 
The General, on this fiscal question, is an excellent and 
patriotic Irish agitator. His meritorious labours are appro- 
priately mentioned in this work ; for one of the standing com- 
plaints of the Repealers is the great fiscal wrong done to 
Ireland. 

On the 17th June, 1864, Smith O'Brien, whose health had 
been for some time declining, died in Wales. I need not say 
that his death caused heartfelt grief, not only among those 
who personally knew and loved him, but among the millions 
of his countrymen who revered him as a brave and honest 
man, and a true Protestant patriot. His remains reached 
Dublin in the Cambria steamer at about four o'clock in the 
morning of the 23rd, and were met by a sorrowing crowd, who 
had in many instances remained up all night to be present at 
the arrival of the vessel. A procession was formed through 
the city to the Kingsbridge terminus ; the number of persons 
who attended at that early hour were computed at 20,000. 
O'Brien's remains were interred at Rathronan, in the county 
Limerick. He had reached his sixty-first year. Requiescat 
in pace. 

* Speech delivered at the National League, 7thJNovember, 1865. For 
statements on this subject see the Appendix. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATO US. 



247 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

"Can the depths of the ocean afford younot graves, 
That you come thus to perish afar o'er the waves : 
To redden and swell the wild torrents that flow, 
Through the valley of vengeance, the dark Aharlow?" 

Spirit of the Nation. 

The reader who has accompanied me thus far will have seen 
that ample provocatives exist in Ireland for that discontent 
which, when coloured by American connexion, assumes the 
shape of Fenianism. I have elsewhere examined the causes 
of the Fenian phenomenon ;* which is in my judgment the 
direct result of the Legislative Union. 

The popular discontent I regard as not only legitimate, but 
inevitable. The Fenian attempts at redressing the national 
wrong were absurd, ill-conceived, ill-contrived, treasonable, and 
impracticable. The National Association, which comprises 
all, or nearly all, the Catholic bishops and a large number 
of clergymen, earnestly invited the people to support it. 
The National League, instituted by Mr. Martin and The 
O'Donoghoe, sent forth a similar invitation. The objects of 
both those societies are in the highest degree popular. Yet the 
great body of the people held aloof, because they were desti- 
tute of confidence in the imperial parliament, to which the 
appeals for removal of wrongs were to be addressed by the 
two societies I have named ; and because they had taken up 
a vague idea that conquering hosts were speedily to come from 
America and set all right. This idea was very prevalent, and 
in my intercourse with the peasantry I found it extremely 
difficult to dispel the delusion. A particular day would be 
fixed by Fenian agents for the landing of the armament ; and 
when the day would arrive, bringing with it no armament, 
another day would be named, and another, and another ; suc- 
cessive postponements still leaving the popular credulity un- 
diminished. 

The number of signatures to petitions for disendowing the 
State Church amounted in 1866 to no less than 202,632. 
This number does not represent the whole, for many petitions 
were rejected in consequence of informality. The number 
would have been much greater if the people had confidence in 
the imperial legislature. The signatures to petitions for a 
change in the land laws amounted, during the same year, to 

* In a smaU pamphlet entitled, " Why is Ireland Discontented?" pub- 
lished by Mullany, Dublin, price two-pence. 



248 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



233,766. Such numbers, under circumstances of considerable 
discouragement, must be allowed to indicate great earnestness 
in the petitioners. Sir John Gray, M.P. for Kilkenny, has taken 
charge of the question of ecclesiastical disendowment in par- 
liament. Of his speech, delivered 11th April, 1866, the Times 
of the next day said, ' 1 Whoever doubts the anomaly or the 
failure of the Irish Church, may be recommended, once for 
all, to peruse the speech of Sir John Gray," It is indeed 
a very able statement. 

The Fenian organisation proceeded apace. Of course the 
government had full and early information of the secret doings 
of the Fenians ; for there never was, and there never will be, an 
illegal conspiracy in Ireland in which spies and false brethren 
will not swarm. The very existence of such a conspiracy is 
certain to invite pretended enthusiasts, whose sole object in 
swearing themselves into the society is to betray its members 
to the government for payment. Pierce Nagle, Pettit, and 
Warner in 1866 were mere reproductions of John Donnellan 
Balfe in 1848, and of Reynolds, Newell, and Armstrong in 
1798. The useful though infamous services of informers 
placed the Viceroy, Lord Wodehouse, in possession of every 
detail of the conspiracy ; and it is due to him to say that he 
used his powers not only with firmness and discretion, but 
with as much clemency as consisted with the performance of 
duties in themselves severe. He proclaimed in parliament 
that Ireland had grievances to be redressed, amongst which he 
gave the alien State Church a prominent position. When the 
first batch of Fenian prisoners had been tried, convicted, and 
sentenced, it was fondly hoped, by persons who could not see 
beneath the surface, that Fenianism was extinguished. The 
Earl of Derby knew better ; he said it had only been scotched, 
not killed. Lord Wodehouse was created Earl of Kimberley 
to reward him for having killed or scotched it. From his 
early and accurate knowledge, derived from the informers, he 
was able to anticipate and counteract every movement pro- 
jected by the conspirators. 

The English journals had for some time been amusing the 
world with statements that Ireland was prosperous and con- 
tented ; that she had cordially accepted the Union, and had 
at length become sensible of its benefits. Fenianism came 
into awkward collision with those statements. Here was a 
conspiracy against English connexion, extending nobody could 
tell how far among the population. Persons who knew nothing 
about the matter imagined that it was an integral conspiracy. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



2i9 



confined to the men who were actually enrolled in it. Bat in 
truth it is no more than a symptom of a far more extensive 
disease — of that national discontent inevitably flowing from 
the Union and its evil consequences, and of which the Fenian 
exhibition is merely the accident of special circumstances. 

It is well to recall the solemn warnings given in 1799 and 
1800 by the parliamentary friends of the Irish Constitution, 
that the Union necessarily tended to promote the ultimate 
separation of the countries. 

Mr. Saurin said, " It will endanger the present happy con- 
stitution and connexion with Great Britain." 

Colonel Barry — " It will impair the connexion/' 

Right Hon. John Foster — " The ruinous measure of an 
Union — a measure calculated to disturb the harmony and 
threaten the existence of the empire.' ' — " Which, if persevered 
in, must threaten separation." 

Mr. Saunderson — "It will endanger, perhaps dissolve, the 
connexion." 

Lord Powerscourt (moving 'an amendment) — " It would 
tend, in our opinion, more than any other cause, ultimately to 
a separation of this kingdom from Great Britain." 

Mr. Waller — " It will weaken, if not dissolve, the con- 
nexion." 

Lord Mathew — " The Union will tend more to weaken than 
to fortify the connexion." 

Lord Cole — " The strongest abhorrence of the Union is com- 
patible with the most unshaken attachment to the connexion." 

Mr. John Claudius Beresford — "It will undermine the 
welfare and subvert the liberties of Ireland, and endanger the 
connexion." 

Right Hon. W. B. Ponsonby — " I oppose the Union from 
an anxious desire to maintain the connexion." 

Right Hon. George Ogle — " A rejection of the Union is the 
only mode by which the connexion can be preserved." 

Mr. R. French — " The preservation of the Irish Parliament 
will encourage and maintain the connexion." 

Mr. Gorges — " The happy communion with Great Britain 
is best maintained by the constitution of 1782." 

Mr. George Ponsonby — " The parliament which so recently 
protected the Irish crown is the firm and saving bond of Bri- 
tish connexion." 

Colonel Vereker — " The Union will effect the downfall of 
Ireland, the annihilation of her independence, and separation 
from British connexion." 



250 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Mr. Bushe — " Union is alienation from British connexion." 

Mr. Peter Burrowes — " This Union not only menaces the 
connexion, but the constitution itself." 

Mr. Plunket — " This bill I oppose, not as a bill of union, 
but of separation ; as a bill calculated to dismember the em- 
pire." 

Mr. Grattan — " The two nations are not identified, though 
the Irish legislature be absorbed ; and by that absorption the 
feeling of one of the nations is not identified but alienated. 
Union is Irish alienation." 

In truth any other result than Irish alienation was out of 
the question. That alienation rankles and festers in the na- 
tion's heart. How could it be otherwise ? The Union seems 
pre-eminently calculated to destroy the attachment of Irish- 
men to British connexion, and to render them indifferent to 
the conquest of their country by a foreign force. If Ireland's 
destiny is to be robbed, degraded, and dispeopled, Irishmen 
may, not unnaturally, ask what can it matter whether the 
robbery, the degradation, the dispeopling, are achieved by 
Great Britain or by any other power ? 

How different the case if the Union had never been enacted ! 
Had the policy of equal laws which Earl Fitzwilliam believed 
he was commissioned to effect in 1795 been fairly carried out ; 
had the country been suffered by England to advance in the 
career of prosperity she enjoyed under her domestic legisla- 
ture ; we should have seen her own resources expanding into 
national wealth and employed for the support of her own 
people ; we should have seen, deeply rooted in the nation's 
heart, the loyalty that springs from national happiness and 
from an honourable pride in domestic institutions adapted to 
the people's wants and dear to their affections ; we should 
have seen no vast exodus of impoverished millions from a land 
to which God has given plenty ; we should have seen no 
Fenianism. 

The Times now and then tells truth. " There is nothing," 
said the leading journal (30th June, 1863), " about which we 
Englishmen know so little as Ireland. We are often told this, 
and no doubt very justly." 

The connexion of the countries has now lasted well nigh 
seven centuries ; the Union has lasted for sixty-six years. If 
at the end of more than two generations of legislative con- 
nexion, and seven hundred years of imperial connexion, Eng- 
lishmen avowedly know less about Ireland than about any- 
thing else, we may safely conclude that their crassa ignorantia 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



251 



is incurable. The legislation of ignorance can neither be in- 
telligent nor beneficial. 

If Fenianism includes, like every other secret society, its 
rascals and its traitors, it has also its better representatives. 
Luby, the son of a Protestant clergyman, appears to be a sin- 
cere and respectable enthusiast. Kickham is a man of con- 
siderable education and mental refinement. But if Fenianism 
has its special hero, I would say that hero is Thomas Burke. 
His address to the court after conviction was marked by calm- 
ness, earnestness, dignity, and resignation. The following 
passages of his eloquent speech are worth preserving : 

" I, my lords, have no desire for the name of a martyr — I 
ask not the death of a martyr ; but if it is the will of the Al- 
mighty and Omnipotent God that my devotion for the land of 
my birth shall be tested on the scaffold, I am willing there to 
die in defence of the rights of man to free government — the 
rights of an oppressed people to throw off the yoke of thral- 
dom. I am an Irishman by birth ; an American by adoption ; 
by nature a lover of freedom, and an enemy to that power 
that holds my native land in the bonds of tyranny. It has no 
godly structure of self-government. Before I go any further 
I have an important duty that I wish to dispose of. To my 
learned, talented, and eloquent counsel I offer them the poor 
gift of thanks — the sincere and heartfelt thanks of an honest 
man. I offer them, too, in the name of America, the thanks 
of the Irish people. I know that, although I am here without 
a friend, without a relative — in fact, three thousand miles 
away from my family, I am not forgotten there. The great 
and generous Irish heart of America to-day feels for, to-day 
sympathises with, and does not forget the man who is willing 
to tread the scaffold — aye, defiantly, proudly, conscious of no 
wrong — in defence of American principles, in defence of 

liberty I shall now, my lords, as no 

doubt you will suggest to me the propriety of doing, turn my 
attention to the objects beyond the grave. I shall now look 
only to that home where sorrows are at an end — where joy is 
eternal. I shall hope and pray that freedom may yet dawn 
on this poor downtrodden country. It is my hope — it is my 
prayer ; and the last words that I shall utter will be a prayer 
to God for forgiveness, and a prayer for poor old Ireland. 

True, I ask for no mercy. My present 

emaciated form, my constitution somewhat shattered, it is 
better that my life should be brought to an end than to drag 
out a miserable existence in the prison pens of Portland. Thus 



252 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



it is, my lords, I accept of the verdict. Of course, my lords, 
my acceptance is unnecessary. I am satisfied with it. And 
now I shall close. True it is, there are many feelings which 
actuate me at this moment — in fact, these few disconnected 
remarks can give no idea of what I desire to say to the court. 
I have ties to bind me to life and society as strongly as any 
man in this court. I have a family I love as much as any 
man in this court ; hut I can remember the blessing I received 
from an aged mother's lips as I left her for the last time — she 
speaking as the Spartan mother did : 6 Go, my boy ; return 
either with your shield or on your shield.' This consoles 
me ; this gives me heart. I submit to my doom, and I hope 
that God will forgive my past sins. I hope that, inasmuch as 
He has for 700 years preserved Ireland, notwithstanding all 
the tyranny to which she has been subjected, as a separate 
and distinct nationality, he will also assist her -to retrieve her 
fallen fortunes, and to raise her in her beauty and majesty, the 
sister of Columbia — the peer of any nation in the world." 

Those are noble words, and there is not the least doubt that 
they give true expression to the sentiments of the Irish in 
America. Notwithstanding the scandal entailed on Fenianism 
by its swindling, peculating leaders, there is not, in the senti- 
ments and aspirations of the mass of Irish- American Fenians, 
anything sordid or degrading. They deem their country 
wronged, and they eagerly desire to emancipate her. The 
purpose is lofty and honourable, but the details of the project 
are preposterous and inadmissible. 

Part of Burke's speech consisted of an able analysis of the 
evidence borne against him by two informers, Massey and 
Cory don. With regard to the information given to the 
government by Corydon, a curious question has been raised. 

Corydon, it appears, was in the government pay as a spy 
from the 16th September, 1866. On his cross-examination 
by Mr. O'Loghlen, he admitted that from September until the 
following January he continued to report to the authorities 
the different meetings in Liverpool ; the names of the persons 
who attended them, including the American officers ; the 
names of the places where the American officers could be 
arrested. He told them that a rising was contemplated ; and 
twice or thrice a week he had given important written infor- 
mation to the police authorities in Ireland. He admitted that 
he was, as a Fenian, under Massey 's orders. The govern- 
ment, then, were aware of the intended outbreak, which they 
could have prevented by timely arrests. And although aware 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



253 



of it, yet in the Queen's Speech in February they announced 
themselves able to restore the Habeas Corpus Act. If they 
thought Corydon faithworthy, why did they not make use of 
his information, commencing in September, to prevent the 
outbreak ? Why, in the Queen's Speech, did they represent 
tranquillity so far settled as to authorise the restoration of the 
Habeas Corpus Act ? On the other hand, if they thought 
Corydon unworthy of credit, why ask the jury to convict Burke 
upon his testimony ? This dilemma was proposed in substance 
by Mr. Butt in his address to the jury, and by the editors of 
several journals. 

At the trial of one Goulding, a Fenian, at the summer 
assizes of 1867 in Kerry, one of the principal witnesses for 
the prosecution was Head- Constable Talbot of the Irish police 
force. Talbot was employed by the authorities at Dublin 
Castle to watch the movements of the Fenians. To effect this 
purpose he became an enrolled Fenian, outstripping all his 
Fenian confreres in the fervour of his Fenian enthusiasm. In 
his evidence at Goulding's trial, he stated that such were the 
influence and confidence he acquired among the insurgents, 
" they would not hold a meeting, night or day, without him." 
The insurgents, he said, " took him to be the head of the 
whole thing," and intended to reward his zeal by appointing 
him Fenian Commissary-General. The London Star called 
public attention to the fact that " government employed a 
policeman to become a Fenian ; that the policeman joined in 
all the arrangements for an armed rising, and, indeed, took so 
leading a part in the business as to make the Fenians believe 
he was i the head of the whole thing.' " The circumstance 
furnishes one more significant warning to the Irish people of 
the ruinous folly of expecting political movements of a secret 
and illegal character to escape the vigilance of government. 

Btfore the Fenian conspiracy began to attract notice, much 
had been said about the permanent quiet and contentment that 
now pervaded Ireland. True, the people were rushing out of 
the country; but then it was satisfactory to think they would 
be better off elsewhere. In short, British legislation had done 
wonders in producing tranquillity, and in substituting bullocks 
for men. We were now at last in the right path. But when 
Fenianism ruffled the surface, the supposed contentment of the 
people turned out to have been merely superficial. The 
Orange journalists of course were for shooting and hanging. 
Their philosophy does not contemplate the removal of grie- 
vances. Odd exhibitions of fantastic zeal diversified the 



254 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



monotony of Orange journalism. A young lady writes to a 
newspaper, boasting of her Orange principles, her heroic indiffer- 
ence to danger, and her proficiency in the use of firearms. An 
" Old Soldier" writes to the Evening Mail to make a suggestion 
which I quote, partly as an amusing indication of panic, partly 
because it contains a touch of the picturesque: " Permit me, 
through your columns, to suggest that in the construction of 
all new police-barracks a better form for defence could hardly 
be selected than that of the old square towers or keeps which 
abound in the country, three storeys high, with galleries at 
each angle on the upper storey, the windows on the ground 
floor to be six feet at least from the ground outside, small, 
with iron frames and shutters, the latter with loopholes and 
slides ; only one entrance, having on the outside a strong iron 
gate, inside which a short passage, say five or six feet long, 
closed at the inner end by a ball-proof sheet-iron door, loop- 
holed ; the side walls of the passage to be also loop-holed. 
Four stout men in such a building might defy incendiaries, 
or indeed any attack, except by artillery. "Were these bar- 
racks built on slightly rising grounds, and within signalling 
distance of each other, intelligence of any disturbance could 
in even moderately clear weather be conveyed to the nearest 
garrison town by flag signals in the daytime, and lamps or 
flash signals at night. For example, let each tower have a 
number, and if there is an attack upon No. 4 tower he hoists 
a red flag in the daytime, or a red light at night, and his num- 
ber. No. 3 sees it, and hoists No. 4 and the red signal, and 
so on until it reaches the sub-inspector, who communicates 
with the officer in command of the troops, and a flying column 
starts in the direction indicated, the tower needing assistance 
keeping the danger-signal flying until relieved, the other towers 
only keeping its number without the danger-signal. I merely 
give this as an outline of a plan which I think might be worked 
out with advantage, and at little cost." 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



255 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

" Ireland is far too important in itself, and too different in many respects from 
Great Britain, to allow of its being ruled entirely by tbe Imperial parliament. The 
craving for self-government has become so strong that it cannot be neglected." 

Ramsay's Political Discourses, p. 325, Edin. 1838. 

" In reality, the central system is nearly allied to despotism, as the local is to liberty ; 
but so far as they can be distinguished, they lend a mutual assistance. As cen • 
tralisation leads to despotism, so despotism to centralisation ; and as love of the soil 
prompts to self-government, so self-government to love of the soil." 

Ibid. p. 343. 

"It was idle to talk to Ireland of the word ' Union,' since there could be no such 
thing as a real Union on an equal footing between two countries so disproportionate 
and unequal. Could the Irish believe that in this connexion they were to have an 
equal voice in legislating for England as the English had in legislating for Ireland V* 
Speech of Right Hon. C. J. Fox, at the Crown and Anchor, 7th May 1800. 

I shall now attempt an exposition of the great question which, 
ever since 1800, has kept the minds of the people of Ireland 
in a state of chronic excitement, and which will sooner or later 
assuredly claim the attention of the government. 

There is no topic upon which such utter ignorance prevails 
in England as on the Repeal of the Union. There is no poli- 
tical question that has been more systematically misrepresented 
by almost the whole newspaper press of that country. The 
prevalent English notion seems to be, that Repeal means all 
sorts of Irish turbulence and riot, mob-domination and uni- 
versal anarchy ; total separation from England and all her 
" civilising" influences, and a return to antediluvian barbarism. 
This notion floats vaguely through the English brain ; for our 
British censors are in general content with denouncing our 
claims with fierceness or dismissing them with scorn. An 
impartial examination of the merits of the case appears to be 
the last thing that occurs to their minds. Repeal has been 
assailed from the throne. Parliamentary majorities have 
scouted it. Ministers have declared that a civil war would be 
preferable to the concession of the measure. And a late 
reverend divine protested it ought only to be encountered with 
grapeshot and canister. 

Yet, despite this storm of hostility, the Irish people still 
persevere in their demand ; because they know they are in 
the right, and they know that the success of their just claim 
is vitally essential to the welfare of their country. 

Ireland is sufficiently great to require the exclusive care and 
attention of a legislature of her own. 

Let us now examine what are the merits of the case for the 
Repeal of the Union, and the restoration of the Irish parliament. 

The people of Ireland seek to rescind a statute which was 



256 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



passed against the consent of the whole nation — Orangemen 
and all — and of which the operation was to extinguish their 
resident parliament. 

From the earliest period of the connexion of the islands 
under Henry II., the king's Irish subjects enjoyed a parliament 
in Ireland distinct from, and perfectly independent of, the Parlia- 
ment of England.* Some efforts on the part of England to 
usurp jurisdiction over the Irish subjects in the reign of King 
Henry VI., elicited from the Irish parliament, in the thirty- 
eighth year of that monarch's reign, a full and unequivocal 
declaration of its own independence. That parliament de- 
clared — 

" That Ireland is, and always has been, incorporated within 
itself by ancient laws and customs, and is only to be governed 
by such laws as by the Lords and Commons of the land in 
parliament assembled have been advised, accepted, affirmed, 
and proclaimed ; that by custom, privilege, and franchise, 
there has ever been a royal seal peculiar to Ireland, to which 
alone the subjects are to pay obedience ; that this realm hath 
also its constable and marshal, before whom all appeals are 
finally determinable ; yet, as orders have of late been issued 
under another seal, and the subjects summoned into England 
to prosecute their suits before a foreign jurisdiction, to the 
great grievance of the people, and in violation of the rights 
and franchises of the land ; they enact that for the future no 
persons shall be obliged, by any commandment under any other 
seal than that of Ireland, to answer any appeal, or any other 
matter, out of said land ; and that no officer to whom such 
commandment may come shall put the same into execution 
under penalty of forfeiture of goods and chattels, and 1,000 
marks, half to be paid to the king and the other half to the 
prosecutor ; and further, that all appeals of treason in Ireland 
shall be determined before the constable and marshal of Ire- 
land, and in no other place. "f 

It is impossible to express more distinctly and unequivocally 

* " The statute 2 Richard III., chap. 8, recites as follows : ' Que le 
Statute de Henry Fitz-Emprice' [Henry II.] ' ordeine pour la eleccion del 
gouvernor,' &c, had made several regulations for supplying occasional 
vacancies in that office ; it then proceeds to amend the same. Here, there- 
fore, we have an evidence of a purely legislative enactment of primary im- 
portance, made in Ireland, arranging the executive government itself, and 
coeval with the supposed conquest of the kingdom." — Monch Mason's 
Essay on the Constitution and Antiquity of Parliaments in Ireland, page 
3, Dublin, 1820. 

f Leland's Hist. Ireland, ii. 42. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



257 



legislative independence than it is expressed in the language 
of the Irish parliament, 38 Henry VI. The reader will ob- 
serve, also, that the statute recites and establishes the fact: 
that our distinct independence was then no new claim, but had 
existed as of right from the earliest periods ; in the words of the 
Act, " it always had been." It is as explicit on the question of 
fiaal jurisdiction as Henry Grattan or Daniel O'Connell could be. 

It may be objected — firstly, that the Irish parliament of 
Henry VI. was the parliament only of a portion of the Irish 
people — of that portion which was of English descent, and of 
those aboriginal Irish who had then combined with the English 
settlers. I reply, that if the parliament of a part of the nation 
had distinct independence, it certainly did not lose that inde- 
pendence by extending its legislative power over the whole 
island. It surely did not forfeit its rights by enlarging the 
area of its jurisdiction. It surely did not lose its privileges 
because it at length embraced within its sway the whole Irish 
nation. If its independence was distinct and undoubted when 
it was only the parliament of a part of the nation, that inde- 
pendence must have necessarily been fortified and strengthened 
when it rested on the basis of the whole Irish people. Should 
it be urged that the whole Irish people were never at any time 
represented in the Irish House of Commons, I reply that at 
this moment a large majority of the English people are un- 
represented in the English parliament. No argument, there- 
fore, can be drawn from that circumstance against the right 
of Ireland to self-legislation which will not be equally fatal to 
the right of the people of England to govern themselves. 

It may be objected — secondly, that the authority asserted 
by the Irish parliament of Henry VI. was de facto set aside by 
Poyning's Act, and subsequently by the English Act of the 6th 
George I. I reply, that both those Acts were usurpations, 
and can no more be validly pleaded in bar of the right of 
Ireland to self-government, than any other usurpations can 
be pleaded in bar of the rights which they respectively invaded. 
We might just as well argue against the rights of the English 
legislature because they were to a great extent prostrated by 
Henry VIII., and encroached upon by the First James and 
the First Charles; or against the rights of the English mo- 
narchy, because they were temporarily overthrown by Cromwell. 
It is sometimes weakly urged against the rights of Ireland, 
that for centuries before the Union the Irish government was 
influenced and often controlled by the English and Protes- 
tant party. It might with equal force be urged against the 



258 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



right of Englishmen to self-legislation, that the government of 
England was for centuries in the hands of the Norman aris- 
tocracy. 

We have seen the early origin and existence of Irish legis- 
lative independence. Our right, in this respect, is at least 
coeval with the corresponding right enjoyed by our English 
fellow- subjects. That right was again affirmed at intervals, and 
finally by the Irish parliament in 1782, and formally recognised 
by the British legislature in 1783 by the Act 23 George III., 
chapter 28. By that British Act the right of the Irish people 
" to be bound only by laws enacted by his Majesty and the 
parliament of Ireland, in all cases whatever, and to have all 
actions and suits at law or in equity, which may be instituted 
in that kingdom, decided in his Majesty's courts therein finally, 
and without appeal from thence," was " declared to be estab- 
lished and ascertained for ever ; and at no time hereafter to be 
questioned or questionable." 

Thus was the public faith of England solemnly pledged to 
recognise and respect the free parliamentary constitution of 
Ireland. 

Before I come to the period of that gross breach of Eng- 
land's public faith entitled the Union, let me quote a few 
authorities showing the spirit in which the friends of that 
measure had always contemplated it. 

The great object of the Union was to rob Ireland. 

So far back as 1699, Sir Richard Cox, an Irishman by 
birth, but a strenuous supporter of that baleful exotic entitled 
" the English interest in Ireland," proposed a Union in the 
following words : "It is your interest to unite and incorporate 
us with England, for by that means the English interest will 
always be prevalent here, and the kingdom as secure to you as 
Wales, or any county in England. Your taxes will be lessened 

when we bear part of the burthen All our money 

will still centre at London ; and our trade and communication 
with England will be so considerable that we shall think our- 
selves at home when there ; and where one goes thither now, 
then ten will go when all our business is transacted in your 
parliament, to which, if we send sixty-four knights for our 
thirty-two counties, ten lords, and six bishops, they may spend 
our money, but cannot influence your councils to your disadvan- 
tage By the Union, England will get much of 

our money, and abundance of our trade."* 

* The above passage is extracted from the autograph correspondence 
of Sir Richard Cox, in pp. 89 and 90 of the printed catalogue of the 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



259 



I believe that no honest Englishman will read the above ex- 
tract from an Irish writer, without a feeling of contemptuous 
disgust at the unprincipled serviiity it displays. Sir Richard 
Cox is the species of Irishman manufactured by English in- 
fluence in Ireland. 

My next proof that the Union was regarded by its friends 
as a machine to squeeze all that could be got out of Ireland, 
is taken from an English writer on trade, Sir Matthew Decker, 
who, in 1751, says, " By a Union with Ireland, the taxes of 
Great Britain will be lessened."* 

Another English writer, Postlethwayte, in his book entitled 
" Britain's Commercial Interest," published in 1767, has the 
following passage: "By the Union, Ireland would soon be 
enabled to pay a million a-year towards the taxes of Great Bri- 
tain As England does already possess no incon- 
siderable share of the lands of Ireland, so the Union would 
prove an effectual method to vest the rest in her ; for, as the 
riches of Ireland would chiefly return to England, site continuing 
the seat of empire, the Irish landlords would he little better than 
tenants to her, for allowing them the privilege of making the best 
of their estates"^ 

Dean Tucker, an Englishman, in his proposal for a Union, 
says, " The inducement of being near the parliament, the 
court, the public funds, &c, would bring many more Irish 
families to reside here than now do. In short, whatever 
wealth Ireland would draw from other countries by its produce, 
manufactures, and happy situation, all that would eventually 
centre in England." 

Dr. Johnson, far more honest than the writers I have quoted, 
was equally clear-sighted as to the operation of the projected 
Union. " Do not make an union with us," said he to an Irish 
friend; "we should unite with you only to rob you. We 
would have robbed the Scotch if they had anything of which 
we could have robbed them. "J 

The spoliation of Ireland was too tempting to be overlooked 
by Pitt, whose expensive government taxed to the utmost his 
financial ingenuity. He had an old grudge, too, against the 
Irish parliament, having had a sharp quarrel with that as- 
sembly in 1789, respecting the amount of power with which 
the Prince Regent should be invested during George the Third's 

Southwell Library, on sale in 1834, by Thomas Thorpe, 38 Bedford-street, 
Covent Garden, London. 

* " Essays on Trade," p. 156. f Pages 203, 204. 

% Boswell's Johnson, ad ann. 1779. 



260 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



illness. He had also another and an older cause of enmity ; 
for, as the editor of the Annual Register for 1790 tells us, 
" the defeat of his commercial propositions in 1785 had left 
an impression of resentment against the nation upon the mind 
of the minister." And he was influenced by a sentiment as 
powerful as any of these motives — namely, that hostility to 
Irish constitutional liberty which had for centuries been the 
invariable characteristic of every English government. 

He laid his plans for the extinction of the Irish parliament 
with consummate art. The reader is already aware that the 
construction of the Irish House of Commons, the large num- 
ber of close boroughs under the exclusive influence of patrons, 
seemed to offer a facility for the accomplishment of his design. 
But even with that advantage, it was not an easy matter to 
persuade a majority in parliament to vote their own extinction. 
It was indispensable in the first place to create a state of things 
that should allow unrestricted operation to the two great in- 
struments upon which Pitt relied — Terror and Corruption. 

I have in a previous chapter sketched the policy adopted 
by Pitt and his administration to produce the rebellion 
of 1798, without which outbreak, and the national weak- 
ness it caused, the government never could have carried the 
Union. 

It is needless here to recapitulate the details, already given, 
of the alternate excitement and depression of the hopes of the 
Catholics, by which dexterous policy they were kept in a state 
of political fever. Nor is it necessary to repeat the horrible 
narrative of tortures, burnings, and wholesale murders, whereby 
the people were goaded into rebellion. The reader, I pre- 
sume, recollects that through the agency of the spy Nicholas 
Maguan, who was a member of the rebel directory, govern- 
ment had constant information, which, for about thirteen 
months prior to the outbreak, would have enabled them at 
any time to arrest the leaders, and thereby prevent the rebel- 
lion from exploding. 

But the outbreak of the rebellion was considered essential 
to the success of the Union. It was deemed advisable to 
scare the Protestant party into a belief that in a Union with 
England could they alone find protection from the sanguinary 
violence of the Popish population. It was also considered re- 
quisite to terrify the Catholics into thinking that in a Union 
with England was their only prospect of escaping from the 
ruthless persecution of their murderous Protestant tyrants. 
By thus creating an internecine enmity between the two great 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



261 



sections of the Irish people, it was calculated that the national 
strength would be totally prostrated. 

The project succeeded. Troops were poured into Ireland 
to the number of 137,590.- Martial law was proclaimed. 
The Habeas Corpus Act was suspended. Sheriffs, in the in- 
terest of government, refused to call meetings to petition 
against the Union. 

The condition into which the government had brought the 
nation may be inferred from the following testimonies : The 
author of the memoir of Lord Clare, in the work entitled 
" Public Characters of 1798," concludes his notice in these 
words : " Such is now the miserable state of his" (Lord 
Clare's) " native land, that any change must be for the better ; 
and if an Union is attended with nothing else than a cessa- 
tion of carnage, every good man must rejoice at the prospect 
of it." 

Lord Castlereagh flattered himself that the Catholics would 
deem even an Union better than the system he helped to ad- 
minister. On the 23rd November, 1798, he writes to William 
AVickham, Esq., " There appears no indisposition" (to the 
Union) " on the part of the leading Catholics ; on the con- 
trary, I believe they will consider any transfer of power from 
their opponents as a boon.''' 

Lord Cornwallis grounds similar hopes on the same state of 
things. His Excellency writes to General Eoss on the 15th 
November, 1798, "From what I learn, the present mode" 
(he is speaking of the Union as then projected) " is not likely 
to be opposed by the Catholics ; they consider any change better 
than the present system.' *\ 

Castlereagh and Cornwallis were both mistaken in expecting 
that the Irish Catholics could be scourged into giving their 
assent to the Union. " The Catholics still continue against 
us," writes Castlereagh to the Duke of Portland, 7th January, 
1799.J But the hope expressed that the Catholics would ac- 



* The Regulars were .. .. 32,281 

The Militia . . . . 26,634 

The Yeomanrv .. .. 51,274 

The English Militia . . . . 24,201 

Artillery .. .. 1,500 

Commissariat .. .. 1,700 



Total, 137,590 

This table is taken from a speech of Lord Castlereagh's, prefacing a 
motion on military estimates, and contained in" a report of the parliamen- 
tary proceedings of the 18th Fehruary, 1799. 

f Cornwallis Correspondence, ii. 436. t Castlereagh Correspond- 

ence, ii. 84. 



262 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



cept the Union as a release from local tyranny, is frightfully 
significant of their wretched condition. What a state must 
that have been, in which the Viceroy and his secretary expect 
that the sufferers would consider that any change must be an 
improvement ! 

Lord Cornwallis, though determined to carry the Union, 
was sufficiently humane to regard with horror the ferocity of 
the troops. On the 1st of July, 1798, he writes to General 
Koss : " The violence of our friends, and their folly in en- 
deavouring to make it a religious war, added to the ferocity of 
our troops who delight in murder, most powerfully counteract 
all plans of conciliation. "* 

On the 8th of July he writes to the Duke of Portland: 
" The Irish militia are totally without discipline ; contemptible 
before the enemy when any serious resistance is made to them ; 
but ferocious and cruel in the extreme when any poor wretches 
whether with or without arms come within their power — in 
short, murder appears to be their favourite pastime. "f 

The success with which Pitt's policy had lashed party hatred 
into fury, appears by the following description given by Lord 
Cornwallis to the Duke of Portland of the sentiments held by 
the leading Protestants of Ireland — the date is 8th July, 1798 : 
" The principal persons of this country and the members of 
both houses of parliament are in general averse to all acts of 
clemency ; and although they do not express, and perhaps 
are too much heated to see, the ultimate effects which their 
violence must produce, would pursue measures that could only 
terminate in the extirpation of the greater number of the in- 
habitants, and in the utter destruction of the country. The 
words Papists and priests are for ever in their mouths, and by 
their unaccountable policy they would drive four-fifths of the 
communnity into irreconcileable rebellion. t 

Again, Lord Cornwallis writes to General Ross on the 24th 
July, 1798: " But all this" (namely, martial-law) " is trifling 
compared to the numberless murders that are hourly com- 
mitted by our people without any process or examination 
whatever. The yeomanry are in the style of the loyalists in 
America, only much more numerous and powerful, and a 
thousand times more ferocious. These men have saved the 
country, but they now take the lead in rapine and murder. 

The conversation of the principal persons of 

the country all tends to encourage this system of blood ; and 

* Cornwallis Correspondence, ii. 357. f Cornwallis Correspond- 

ence, ii. 359. % Cornwallis Correspondence, ii. 360. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



263 



the conversation even at my table, where you will suppose I 
do all I can to prevent it, always turns on hanging, shooting, 
burning, &c. &c. ; and if a priest has been put to death, the 
greatest joy is expressed by the whole company. So much 
for Ireland and my wretched situation."* 

Lord Cornwallis received occasional reproofs from the Eng- 
lish cabinet for being too lenient with the rebels. The yeo- 
manry were chiefly Orangemen, f and it would appear that his 
Excellency had been accused of unduly interfering with some 
of the loyal operations of that body. Against this accusation 
the Viceroy thus defends himself in a letter to the Duke of 
Portland, dated 11th March, 1799: " Your Grace maybe 
assured that I shall omit no means in my power to encourage 
and animate the whole body of yeomanry to a faithful and 
active discharge of their duty ; but I never can permit them 
to take advantage of their military situation to pursue their 
private quarrels and gratify their personal resentments, or to 
rob and murder at discretion any of their fellow-subjects whom 
they may think proper, on their own authority, to brand with 
the name of rebels. "J 

On the 15th April, 1799, Lord Cornwallis gives General 
Ross the following sketch of the loyal amusements which 
he deemed it expedient to check: " You write as if you really 
believed that there was any foundation for all the lies and 
nonsensical clamour about my lenity. On my arrival in this 
country I put a stop to the burning of houses and murder of 
the inhabitants by the yeomen or any other persons who de- 
lighted in that amusement, to the flogging for the purpose of 
extorting confession, and to the free-quarters, which compre- 
hended universal rape and robbery throughout the country. "§ 

To put a stop to burning, torture, murder, universal rape 
and robbery, was, one would suppose, if not a meritorious, at 
least an excusable exercise of the viceregal authority. But 
the Viceroy's interference with the amusements of the Orange 
loyalists provoked the violent indignation of their party. The 
celebrated champion of Protestant ascendancy, Dr. Patrick 
Duigenan, writes to Lord Castlereagh on the 20th December, 
1798, that the lenity of Lord Cornwallis "has rendered him 
an object not only of disgust but of abhorrence to every loyal 
man with whom I have conversed since my return from Eng- 
land."|| 

* Cornwallis Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 371. t Ibid. iii. 167. 
% Ibid. iii. 74. § Ibid, iii, 89. 

|| Cornwallis Correspondence, iii. 90. That the Orange loyalists of 



264 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



To a complaint from Mr. Wickham of Lord Cornwallis' s 
lenity, Lord Castlereagh replies, that, exclusively of all {per- 
sons tried at the assizes, Lord Cornwallis had decided per- 
sonally on 400 cases ; that out of 131 condemned to death 81 
had been executed ; and that 418 persons had been transported 
or banished in pursuance of the sentence of courts martial 
since Lord Cornwallis had arrived in Ireland.* 

Considering that the unfortunate people had been 'delibe- 
rately driven to rebel, the amount of capital punishment and 
transportation recorded by Lord Castlereagh (whose letter is 
dated 6th March, 1799) might have satisfied the most exact- 
ing loyalist that the imputed clemency of the Viceroy was not 
excessive. But the punishment inflicted did not satiate the 
cravings of loyal enthusiasm, unless accompanied with burn- 
ing, torture, murder, universal rape and robbery. 

Lord Cornwallis, who wished to rob Ireland of her legisla- 
ture with the least possible effusion of blood, was hard pressed 
by the sanguinary loyalists. On the 16th November, 1799, 
he gives General Eoss a description of his difficult position, 
which is of great historical value, not only for the picture it 
affords of the state of Ireland at the period, but also for the 
Viceroy's distinct admission that the people had been driven 
into rebellion by violence and cruelty. Sir Robert Peel de- 
nied that fact in the repeal debate of 1834. The proofs that 
establish its truth are numerous and conclusive. It is of 
some importance to include among those proofs the testimony 
of Lord Cornwallis. "The greatest difficulty," he writes, 
"which I experience is to control the violence of our loyal 

our own day have lost none of their ancestral enthusiasm is shown by 
numerous proofs — among the rest by the riots they provoked in Belfast 
in the autumn of 1864, which lasted for fourteen days, during which 
period nine persons were killed and 176 wounded, and a large amount of 
property destroyed {Northern Whig, quoted in Cork Examiner, 9th Sep- 
tember, 1864). The pretext of the Orange rioters was, that the govern- 
ment had not interfered to prevent a large assemblage and procession in 
Dublin, met to lay apart a site for the O'Connell Memorial. This was 
deemed an insult to the Orange party, who avenged their sentimental 
wrongs by getting up an anti-Catholic riot in Belfast. Let us reverse the 
case, and suppose that in Belfast an Orange gathering had met to mark 
the ground for a statue to William III. or Dr. Cooke. What would be 
thought of the Catholics of Dublin, if they had taken their revenge on 
the Northerns by getting up a formidable anti-Protestant riot in the me- 
tropolis, with a copious show of killed and wounded, and extensive de- 
struction of property ? 

* Cornwallis Correspondence, iii. 90. Lord Cornwallis assumed the 
reins of government 20th June, 1798. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



2G5 



friends, who would, if I did not keep the strictest hand upon 
them, convert the system of martial-law (which God knows is 
of itself bad enough), into a more violent and intolerable 
tyranny than that of Robespierre. The vilest informers are 
hunted out from the prisons to attack by the most barefaced 
perjury the lives of all who are suspected of being, or of 
having been, disaffected ; and indeed every Roman Catholic 
of influence is in great danger. You will have seen by the 
addresses both in the north and south that my attempt to 
moderate that violence and cruelty which has once driven, and 
which, if tolerated, must again soon drive this wretched country into 
rebellion, is not reprobated by the voice of the country, although 
it has appeared so culpable in the eyes of the absentees."* 

Of course, the atrocities were not all on one side. In Mad- 
den's " Lives of the United Irishmen" the reader will find the 
principal outrages of the insurgents candidly recorded. Their 
detestable act at Scullabogue, where a number of royalist pri- 
soners, including sixteen Catholics, were burned to death in a 
barn, merits the execration of mankind. On the 20th June, 
1798, a party of insurgents slaughtered a crowd of royalists 
on the bridge of Wexford — the number of the sufferers 
being estimated at ninety-seven by Sir Richard Musgrave ; but 
by Hay and other authorities, at thirty-six. At Vinegar Hill 
the rebels committed a massacre — the number of their victims 
being variously stated at 500, at dOO, and at 84. And at 
Euniscorthy a body of insurgents murdered fourteen royalists 
in cold blood. Lord Cornwallis also, in one of the letters 
from which I have made extracts, speaks of " the feeble out- 
rages, burnings, and murders which are still committed by the 
rebels ;" and these, he says, " serve to keep up the san- 
guinary disposition on our side." 

Let the patriot, or the man of humanity, who shudders at 
the hideous scenes of carnage which Ireland then presented, 
bear in mind that Mr. Pitt was solemnly warned by Lord 
Fitzwilliam, in 1795, that the policy he adopted would " raise 
a flame in the country that nothing short of arms would be 
able to keep down." But Mr. Pitt chose to disregard the 
Viceroy's warning. He waded to his object — the Union- 
through the blood of tens of thousands of the Irish people, 
reckless of the human lives destroyed ; reckless of the national 
misery created ; reckless of the awful guilt which he incurred ; 
reckless of every moral impediment in the way of his grand 
purpose — the overthrow of that constitution which had pro- 
* Cornwallis Correspondence, vol. iii. pp. 1-14, 145. 

12 



266 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



mated the material prosperity of Ireland to an astonishing 
extent. 

When the insurrection was put down, the nation lay pros- 
trate at the feet of the soldier. The government deemed the 
presence of an irresistible military force indispensable to the 
success of the Union. This is avowed by Lord Castlereagh, 
who, referring to a project of withdrawing the British militia 
from Ireland, plainly intimates that with the Union in view, 
it would be impossible to dispense with their services. In 
his cold, diplomatic language, he writes to Mr. Wickham on 
the 22nd November, 1798: " Were the British militia to 
press their recall, there is reason to apprehend that several 
regiments of Fencibles, who were induced by the same public 
motive to offer their services in Ireland, would do the same. 
The alarming effect of withdrawing from this country, where 
the treason is rather quiescent than abandoned, the flower of 
its army, at a period when the king's ministers have in con- 
templation a great constitutional settlement, his Grace" (the 
Duke of Portland) " will feel. The Lord Lieutenant's opinion 
decidedly is, that without the force in question it would ex- 
pose the king's interest in this kingdom to hazard a measure 
which, however valuable in its future effects, cannot fail in 
the discussion very seriously to agitate the public mind." 
And in a postcript Lord Castlereagh adds, that he had com- 
municated very fully with Lord Buckingham, by the Viceroy's 
direction. He says, that with respect to the troops " his lord- 
ship" (Buckingham) " saw the importance of their service in the 
same point of view with the Lord Lieutenant ; he went so far 
as to say that, in his lordship's judgment, the event of the ques- 
tion of the Union is altogether dependent on their continuance."* 

And at the very time when a large army was required to 
force the Union on the Irish people, Mr. Pitt assured the 
British House of Commons that the national mind of Ireland 
was in its favour. 

Whilst terror reigned throughout the kingdom, corruption 
soon became paramount within the walls of parliament. In 1799 
a majority of the Irish House of Commons, despite the stu- 
pendous exertions of Pitt, had negatived the Union. That 
minister employed the recess in redoubling his efforts to bribe 
and overawe. For the latter purpose, it is worthy of note 
that although the rebellion had been crushed, yet the military 
force in Ireland was increased, f 

* Castlereagh Correspondence, vol. ii. pp. 12, 13, 14. 

f In the " Summary Report on the State of the Poor of Ireland/' 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



267 



With respect to the effort to corrupt, it may suffice to say, 
that every man who had a price was bought. No secresy was 
observed upon the subject. Lord Castlereagh openly said in 
the House of Commons, " Half-a-million, or more, were ex- 
pended some years since to break an opposition ; the same, or 
a greater sum, may be necessary now." 

A greater sum icas necessary. The direct money bribes 
amounted to one million and a-half. In the purchase of 
boroughs the sum of £1,275,000 was expended. Peerages, 
judgeships, bishoprics, commands in the army and navy, were 
profusely showered in reward for Union votes. There were 
116 persons in the House of Commons, in 1800, holding em- 
ployments or pensions under government ; and some of these 
were English and Scotch officers, introduced into nomination 
boroughs by the influence of government, for the express pur- 
pose of voting away a parliament in whose existence they had 
no manner of interest. 

Yet, notwithstanding the gigantic efforts of the government 
to stifle the national voice — notwithstanding the suspension of 
the Habeas Corpus Act, and the refusal of sheriffs, who had been 
appointed by government in the interest of the Union, to con- 
vene meetings of the people to oppose it — the petitions to par- 
liament against the measure were signed by no less than 707,000 
persons, whilst those in its favour were signed by only 5,000.* 

But despite the opposition of nearly every human being in 
the kingdom, except the corrupt band in the pay of the 
government, the measure was carried by the joint influence of 
military violence without, and barefaced bribery within the 
walls of parliament. Lord Castlereagh, writing on the 21st 
June, 1800, to Mr. Secretary Cooke, on the necessity of keep- 
ing a particular promise of patronage, says : "It will be no 
secret what has been promised, and by what means the Union 
has been secure:!. Disappointment will encourage, not pre- 
vent, disclosure ; and the only effect of such a proceeding on 

issued in 1S30, the military expenditure of several yean is stated, and 
amongst others the following : 

1798 £2,227,454 

1799 3,246,228 

1800 3,528,800 

1801 4,021,783 

The Union came into operation on the 1st January, 1801, in which year 
it may be inferred, from the foregoing figures, that Pitt deemed an over- 
whelming military force indispensable to quell the discontent excited 
by his Union, and to secure the "victory he had achieved over Irish con- 
stitutional liberty. 

* See note on p. 37, ante. 



268 



IRFLAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



their part will be to add the weight of their testimony to that 
of the anti-Unionists, in proclaiming the profligacy of the 
means by which the measure was accomplished."* 

Thus, I repeat, was the Union carried. The fraudulent 
and sanguinary means by which it was inflicted on the Irish 
nation essentially vitiate the whole transaction. It was, and 
is, a colossal swindle. 

It has, indeed, been said, that however void and null the 
Union may originally have been, from the vitiating nature of 
the means whereby it was achieved, yet the Irish people have 
given subsequent validity and force to the measure by their 
own act of sending representatives to the imperial parliament. 
I reply, that their act in so doing does not, and cannot give 
moral validity to the Union, simply because it does not indi- 
cate free choice. True, they have sent representatives to the 
English parliament, just because they had no other parliament 
to send them to. Their own legislature having been sup- 
pressed by force, no alternative remained for them except to 
return members to the British House of Commons. Their 
act indicates nothing but their reluctant and coerced adoption 
of a pis- alter. They have deemed -it just preferable to return 
members to the English senate, than not to return them at 
all. But give them the option of an English or an Irish par- 
liament, and if they shall prefer the former, why then (but 
not till then) shall I allow that their act in returning repre- 
sentatives to England gives moral validity to the Union. 

It has been urged that to impeach the moral validity of the 
Union statute is of necessity to impeach the legal validity of 
every statute passed by the united parliament. Not so. 
Saurin drew the distinction with accuracy : ' 6 You may," said 
he, " make the Union binding as a law, but you never can 
make it obligatory upon conscience. Resistance to it will be, 
in the abstract, a duty." The Union is binding as a law — 
as a bad, unjust, oppressive, and iniquitous law. Being thus 
legally binding, the statutes enacted under its authority by 
the united parliament are also legally binding. 

If, however, we should admit the corollary imputed to our 
doctrine by the Unionists, " that the post-Union statutes are 
rendered legally invalid by the moral invalidity of the Union," 
I should turn round upon the Unionists and ask, Whose fault 
is that ? Not ours, surely, who opposed in 1800 the enact- 
ment, and who now deprecate the continuance of the Union, 
the source of the statutory invalidity in question. The fault 
* Memoir and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh, vol. iii. p. 331, 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



269 



would rest with those who, by the flagitious suppression of 
the legislative rights of Ireland, have deprived legislation of 
validity, and shaken to their base the bulwarks and fences of 
civil society. 

The Unionists, unable to deny the infamy of the means by 
which the Union was effected, allege that ,the means have 
nothing to do with the measure ; that the measure may be 
good, although the means used to carry it were indefensible, 
and so on. 

The means have a great deal to do with the measure. They 
demonstrate two important facts — firstly, the hostility of the 
people of Ireland to the Union, which could not be achieved 
without such means. No measure can be good which out- 
rages every wish, sentiment, and principle of the people to 
whom it is applied. Secondly, the means used to carry the 
Union demonstrate that the contrivers of the measure were 
animated with the most deadly hostility to the Irish nation. 
The men who connived at torture — the men who fomented a 
rebellion — the men who ruthlessly sacrificed the lives of 
thousands, and who laboured with demoniac activity to corrupt 
the senate — were such men our friends ? Were they men 
from whose hands a good measure could possibly emanate ? 
The means they used afford a superabundant demonstration of 
their animus — an animus totally incompatible with friendly 
intentions to Ireland. The Union was the measure of our 
enemies, not of our friends. There is in this fact prima facie 
evidence that the measure could not have been either intended 
or calculated to benefit Ireland. 

The Union, then, being a gross outrage on Ireland's legis- 
lative rights — rights of as ancient a date as the correspond- 
ing rights of England ; being, moreover, the work of our 
deadliest enemies ; being achieved in shameless breach of 
England's national faith, pledged to us by the 23rd Geo. III., 
chapter 28 ; being achieved in defiance of our expressed 
national will, and by means which it is no exaggeration to 
term diabolical ; this Union has ever since its enactment been 
opposed with more or less activity by the people of Ireland, 
who allege that its results on their social condition have been 
fully as disastrous as might have heen expected from the 
nature of its origin and the character of its authors. 

They allege that the imperial parliament taxes Ireland much 
more heavily than the native legislature did, and that the 
fiscal management of Ireland, resulting from the Union, is 
grossly dishonest and oppressive. As this part of the subject 



270 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



will be touched in the Appendix, I shall here content myself 
with a few brief statements. 

At the time of the Union the British debt was about sixteen 
and a-half times as large as the Irish debt. To impose 
equality of taxation on countries whose debts were so unequal 
would have been a proposition too outrageous even for Pitt 
and Castlereagh to make directly. On the 5th January, 1799, 
Lord Castlereagh forwarded to the Duke of Portland what he 
called " a short sketch that has been thrown out to feel the 
public sentiment on the terms" (of Union). From his lord- 
ship's sketch I take the following paragraphs : 

" Debts and Eeyenues. 

" The exchequer of Ireland to continue separate ; Great 
Britain to be responsible for her own debt and its reduction ; 
Ireland to be responsible for her own debt and its reduction. 

" The future expenses of Ireland in war and peace to be in 
a fixed ratio to the expenses of Great Britain. 

" When the revenues of Ireland shall exceed her proportion 
of expense, the excess to be applied to local purposes. The 
taxes producing the excess to be taken off."* 

This sketch forms the basis of the arrangement which was 
subsequently incorporated in the Act of Union. I shall only 
remark on it at present, 

Istly, That the exchequer of Ireland does not continue 
separate ; that Great Britain has shuffled off the separate re- 
sponsibility for her own debt and its reduction, and extorts 
from Ireland a contribution to the payment of the British 
annual debt-charge. 

2ndly, That Lord Castlereagh took care to fix the ratio of 
Irish and British expenses on a false and exaggerated estimate 
of Ireland's relative ability. By this clever contrivance, Ire- 
land became entangled in a technical bankruptcy in 1816, of 
which Great Britain took advantage to abolish separate ratios 
of contribution, and thereby to mortgage Ireland for the pre- 
Union British debt. 

Srdly, Lord Castlereagh promised that the excess of Irish 
revenue over Irish expense should be applied to local purposes 
in Ireland. This promise was never performed. He also pro- 
mised that the taxes producing the excess should be taken off. 
The mode in which the imperial parliament has performed this 
promise, is by increasing Irish taxation 52 per cent, since 
1853.f 

* Cornwallis Correspondence, vol. iii. pp. 32, 33. 

f Pitt and Castlereagh both said that an income tax would be the best 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



271 



If the Union had not been enacted, we should long since 
have paid off every shilling of the Irish national debt, and we 
should now be one of the least taxed and most prosperous 
countries in Europe. 

So little is the question of international finance understood 
in Great Britain, that a writer of Mr. J. R. M'Cullocli's repu- 
tation talks of " the extraordinary favour shown to Ireland in 
respect of taxation."** I do not impute intentional misstrte- 
ment to Mr. M'Culloch, who probably was ignorant of the 
whole subject on which he expressed his opinion in the words 
now quoted. 

Among our greatest fiscal grievances is the absentee drain, 
chiefly consequent upon the Union, and which at present is 
believed to amount to about £4,000,000 annually. 

The manufactures of Ireland, once the source of comfortable 
subsistence to numbers of her people, have been prostrated by 
the overwhelming competition of great English capitalists, who 
drove the Irish manufacturer out of his native market when 
the protective influence of a native legislature was remove:!. 
No person now contends that protective duties should be per- 
manent. But they may be indispensable for a time, to guard 
manufactures in their infancy ; and until manufactures acquire 
sufficient strength to dispense with protection. 

The progress of popular liberties in Ireland after 1782 was 
rapid, until checked by the vigorous interference of England. 
Had not the Irish legislature been destroyed, the anti-national 
Church Establishment would have long ago ceased to insult 
and oppress the Irish people. 

The very fact of being governed by laws made in another 
country has degraded the minds of the Irish aristocracy and 
gentry. Use has familiarised them with national servitude ; 
and the consequent depravation of their sentiments operates 
most perniciously on the interests of their country. They have 
lost that pride of national honour which is the best protector 
of a nation's prosperity. 

criterion of the quota of expense each country would be able to bear. 
(See Cornwallis Correspondence for Pitt's opinion, vol. ii. p. 457.) But 
there was not then an income tax in Ireland. That criterion now exists. 
The income of Ireland is returned at £22, 746,344. The income of Great 
Britain is returned at £301,345,867. The conjoint income of the two 
islands is returned at £324,092,211. The Irish income is slightly less 
than one-fourteenth of the whole, but the Irish taxes are about one-tenth 
of the whole. So that we are forced to pay a tenth part of the general 
taxes, out of less than a fourteenth part of the general income. 

* u A Descriptive and Statistical Account of the British Empire," by 
J. R. M'Culloch, Esq. Fourth Edition, Revised, vol. ii. page 239. Long- 
mans, London, 1854. 



272 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



The existence of a domestic parliament in Ireland, enjoying 
the constitution established in 1782, produced an increase of 
national prosperity unexceeded within the same period by any- 
other nation on earth, despite the counteractive force of 
English influence, administrative corruption, and sectarian in- 
tolerance. In proof of this all-important fact, we have the 
evidence of Pitt, Clare, Cooke (the under- Secretarv), Foster, 
Plunket, Grattan, Jebb (M.P. for Callan), Dillon (M.P. for 
Mayo), the Dublin Bankers, the Dublin Guild of Merchants, 
and a host of equally competent witnesses.* Plunket thus 
described the progress of Ireland in his speech delivered 15th 
January, 1800: " Her revenues, trade, and manufactures 
thriving beyond the hope or the example of any other country of 
her extent ; within these few years advancing with a rapidity 
astonishing even to herself." 

Lord Cornwallis bears his testimony to the daily increasing 
wealth and prosperity of Ireland in a letter to the Duke of 
Portland, 28th January, 1799 : " As the general democratic 
power of the state," says his Excellency, " is increasing daily 
by the general wealth and prosperity, and as the Catholics form 
the greater part of the democracy, their power must propor- 
tionably increase whilst the kingdoms are separate, and the 
Irish oligarchy is stationary or declining."! 

It was not to be tolerated that Ireland, with her Catholic 
majority, should increase in prosperity and wealth. A stop 
must be put to such dangerous progress by an Union. 

Pitt was of course obliged to varnish his scheme with a pre- 
text of friendship for Ireland. He admitted the prosperity of 
Ireland ; the Union, he said, would increase her prosperity and 
give it stability. The Union would give Ireland the advantage 
of a thorough identification with the greatest and wealthiest 
nation in the world. The Union would cement the affections 
of England and Ireland by perfectly incorporating their pre- 
viously separate interests, and thus consolidate the strength 
and security of the whole empire. 

Let us now see how far the Union has kept the promises of 
its author ; aud in this inquiry I shall avail myself of English 
and Tory authority. 

Firstly, touching the prosperity which the Union was to 

* For the testimony cited from some of the more important of these 
witnesses establishing the pre-union prosperity of Ireland, see my pamphlet 
entitled "Why is Ireland Discontented?" John Mullany, Parliament- 
street, Dublin. 

t Cornwallis Correspondence, iii. 54. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



273 



have produced, take the following description from the 
Times newspaper of the 26th June, 1845 : " The facts of 
Irish destitution," says the Times, " are ridiculously simple. 
They are almost too commonplace to be told. The peopie 
have not enough to eat. They are suffering a real, though an 
artificial famine. Nature does her duty. The land is fruitful 
enough. Nor can it fairly be said that man is wanting. The 
Irishman is disposed to work. In fact, man and nature 
together do produce abundantly. The island is full and over- 
flowing with human food. But something ever interposes 
between the hungry mouth and the ample banquet. The 
famished victim of a mysterious sentence stretches out his 
hands to the viands which his own industry has placed before 
his eyes, but no sooner are they touched than they fly. A 
perpetual decree of sic vos nan vobis condemns him to toil 
without enjoyment. Social atrophy drains off the vital juices 
of the nation." 

Here, then, was the realisation, in 1845, of Pitt's prediction 
of Irish prosperity. The potato blight had not at that time 
commenced. 1 1 The famished victim of a mysterious sentence 
stretches out his hands to the viands which his own industry 
has placed before his eyes, but no sooner are they touched 
than they fly." Yes. They fly to pay absentee rents ; to pay 
surplus taxes shipped to England ; to pay for English manu- 
factures which have found a market on the ruin of our own ; 
in a word, to pay the gigantic and manifold tribute thus ex- 
tracted from this kingdom by England. Whilst Ireland possessed 
her free constitution, there was no " mysterious sentence" to 
prevent the producer of food from enjoying the profits ©f his 
industry. Can any rational man suppose that if Ireland 
governed herself, we should behold a famine- stricken people 
inhabiting " an island full and overflowing with human 
food?" 

Some such light appears to have broken at intervals upon 
even the dim vision of the Times, for in the beginning of 
September, 1845, I find in another article on Ireland in that 
journal the following remarkable admissions : " Whilst it is 
tne fortune — and the good fortune, we will add — of England, 
to import annually a million quarters of foreign corn, it is the 
misfortune of Ireland to export what should be the food of her 
own population. From Ireland we draw a part of our daily 
bread. But it is evident how precarious is that dependence. 
This year, as appears by a return just out, we have imported 
very much less than in the two previous years, notwithstanding 



274 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



the higher prices As Ireland may be truly con- 
sidered in a perpetual state of famine, she should rather import 
from foreign countries than export to us. Her wheat, barley > 
and oats, are the rents of absentees. " 

I pray the English reader to ponder well this testimony, in 
connexion with Pitt's hypocritical promises, in 1800, of bless- 
ings, and prosperity, and wealth to be showered upon Ireland 
by the Union. " Ireland," said the Times in 1845, " may be 
truly considered in a perpetual state of famine." And this, it 
is to be observed, was before the potato disease had set in; it 
was in the same year in which the same journal had pronounced 
that Ireland was " full and overflowing with human food." 
Just reflect on such a condition of things— a country over- 
flowing with food, yet its people in a perpetual state of famine I 
It would indeed be miraculous if Ireland were in any other 
state, while the means which God had given her for the sup- 
port of her inhabitants were wrung out of her by the Union, 
Well might the Times exclaim, " Social atrophy drains off the 
vital juices of the nation." That social atrophy is the want of 
self-government. 

One more testimony to the realisation of Pitt's Union pros- 
perity promises : " We cannot," say the Irish Poor Inquiry 
Commissioners in their Third Report, " estimate the number 
of persons in Ireland out of work and in distress, during thirty 
w 7 eeks of the year, at less than 585,000, nor the number of 
persons dependent on them at less than 1,800,000, making in 
the whole 2,385,000." 

That was the state of affairs in 1836. That would not have 
been the state of affairs in 1836 if the' annual produce of 
Ireland had not been swept off by England as fast as it was 
produced. That was not the condition of the Irish population 
while Ireland possessed her own parliament. Manufactures, 
which were then rapidly growing up, would have continued to 
extend, and to absorb the surplus agricultural hands. The 
income of the country would have continued to circulate at 
home among the Irish people, forming innumerable little 
capitals. There would not have been a perpetual decree of 
sic vos non vobis, condemning millions to toil without enjoy- 
ment. There wquld not— there could not have been 2,885,000 
destitute paupers out of a population (at that time) of eight 
millions. 

With these evidences of national misery before our eyes, it 
is at once ludicrous and melancholy to reflect that the pretext 
upon which the imperial parliament rejected O'Connell's motion 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



275 



for Repeal in 1834 was the " giant-stride prosperity of Ire- 
land." Could there be a more conclusive proof of the trans- 
cendant ignorance of that parliament on Irish matters, or of 
its total incompetence to govern Ireland for the benefit of the 
country? The " prosperity" of a people " in a perpetual 
state of famine !" Of a people whose " vital juices are drained 
off by a social atrophy !" Of a people, more than a fourth of 
whom were at that very time reduced to a state of pauperism 
for thirty weeks in every year, and whose numbers have since 
then been enormously thinned out by the imperial plunder 
that renders their native country incapable of supporting 
them I* Imagine legislation gravely founded on the alleged 
prosperity of such a people ! Who can wonder that the 
wronged and outraged nation should try to shake loose from 
this beau ideal of legislative ignorance and impudence ? 

Let us next see whether Pitt's pretext that the Union would 
cement the affections and incorporate the interests of the 
countries, was in any respect better founded than his pro- 
mises of Irish prosperity. On this point I shall again quote 
from an intelligent Tory authority : ' ' The position of Ireland," 
says Frazer's Magazine for May, 1845, " considered as an in- 
tegral portion of the British empire, is a thing quite by itself 
in the history of nations. Subjects of the same crown, 
governed by the same laws, represented in the same parlia- 
ment, and partakers in the same free constitution, the Irish 
people are as far removed from an amalgamation w r ith the 
people of England as if the breadth of Europe stood between 
them, and they were known to one another only by name. 
Moreover, the sources of this alienation lie so deep — they are 
of such ancient date, and so continually present to the minds 
of both races, that up to the present moment the best en- 
deavours of kings, and ministers, and parliaments to remove 

them have availed nothing Attachment, 

using that term in its more generous sense, there is, it is to 
be apprehended, very little between the two countries — cer- 
tainly none on the side of the Irish towards their English 
fellow- subjects." 

True — perfectly true. It would indeed be most extraor- 
dinary if there were any. Men do not love the spoiler, the 

* In a former chapter I have referred to the parliamentary return ob- 
tained by Sir J. N. M'Kenna, showing a diminution of the Irish people 
between 1846 and 1861 to the extent of 2,397,630 souls. But the 
exodus has been since going on ; and the decrease is estimated to have 
reached the enormous amount of 2,738,099, by the middle of the present 
year 1867. 



276 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



robber, the destroyer of their liberties. The attachment of 
the Irish people is not to be won by the corruption and de- 
struction of their native legislature, and the wholesale abstrac- 
tion of their national resources. It is not to be won by the 
prostration of Ireland from the rank of a kingdom to that of a 
province ; nor by the irritating and insolent intrusion of 
England into all their domestic concerns. The Union was a 
crime and a curse— a crime in its perpetration, and a curse in 
its deadly results ; and the attachment of a people is not to 
be won by crimes and curses. Those persons who yet che- 
rish the preposterous fancy that the Union operates as a bond 
of international affection, should think of Frazer's Tory evi- 
dence — ' ' Far removed from amalgamation with the people of 
England." " Deep and ancient alienation of the countries. " 
" No attachment. " And is this the mutual love produced by 
nearly half-a-century of Union ? Methinks it is much more 
like dismemberment. I cordially forgive Frazer for the non- 
sense he talks about kings, and ministers, and parliaments 
trying to heal the international sore, in consideration of the 
testimony he bears to an important truth — namely, the tried 
and proved incompetence of the Union to promote good will, 
or anything but alienation, between the two countries. 

It is, indeed, remarkable, that whilst Unionists allege that 
the dissolution of the Union would infallibly be followed by 
our total separation from Great Britain, they omit all notice 
of the tendency of the Union itself to produce separation, by 
disgusting the Irish people with a connexion whereby they 
are degraded and impoverished. I admit the advantage to 
Ireland of connexion with Great Britain — connexion under the 
same crown, and with separate parliaments. But if I deem — 
as I do deem — such a connexion greatly preferable to sepa- 
ration, I also deem separation greatly preferable to the Union. 
Connexion is a very good thing, but like most other good 
things it may be purchased at too high a price ; and unde- 
niably the destruction of our parliament is too high a price to 
pay for British connexion. 

A connexion satisfactory to Ireland would be far more likely 
to endure than one which is the source of perpetual irritation 
and ill-will. Norway and Sweden afford a happy example of 
two friendly nations united under the same crown, and each 
enjoying its own domestic parliament. We hear a vast quan- 
tity of grave and solemn nonsense about two co-ordinate par- 
liaments necessarily clashing against each other, and destroy- 
ing the integrity of the empire. The problem is practically 



IRELAND AND TIER AGITATORS. 



277 



solved by Sweden and Norway. The collision of the nations 
were a much more probable event, if the one aroused the 
deadly hatred of the other by destroying her power of self- 
legislation. True, the overwhelming strength of one of the 
countries may, in a time of peace, neutralise any attempts on 
the part of the other to throw off the yoke. But the history 
of the world is not yet ended. If England does not timely 
atone for the Union-crime by restoring to Ireland her parlia- 
ment, the latter will, in all probability, be yet the sharpest 
thorn in her so-called sister's side. 

The Unionists allege that the Union, by centralising the 
legislative power, consolidates and strengthens the empire. 
Centralisation, up to a certain point, is indispensable for im- 
perial integrity and safety. But when it passes that point it 
becomes despotism ; and, despotism resembles the brazen 
statue with the feet of clay. Its strength is corroded, its foun- 
dations are undermined by the just dissatisfaction of those 
portions of the empire that are the victims of its monopoly 
of power, of expenditure, and of influence. There is no per- 
manent political health in a state whose extremities are op- 
pressed and despoiled to augment the strength and enhance 
the grandeur of the centre. Such a political condition is ana- 
logous to the state of a human body affected with an overflow 
of blood at the head or heart, which every man knows is a 
state of disease not unfrequently followed by death. 

Centralisation, in the shape of Legislative Union, is the 
source, not of strength, but of weakness — weakness arising 
from alienated hearts and trampled interests. Local self- 
government in the several nations which collectively constitute 
an empire or a republic, affords the best security to the whole 
against foreign aggression — a security derived from the greater 
zeal each separate portion must necessarily have in defending 
those local institutions which are beneficial to each man's local 
interests, and entwine themselves around his best affections. 
On the other hand, centralisation, by rendering the inhabitants 
of the parts at a distance from the centre dissatisfied and dis- 
contemed, necessarily weakens the outposts of the empire, and 
thereby renders the provinces vulnerable to the foreign in- 
vader. Men will fight better in defence of happy homes than 
they will in defence of hearths despoiled by the centralising 
tyranny. Men will fight better in defence of their liberties 
than they will in defence of their own bondage. They will 
struggle with a bolder heart and a more stalwart arm in de- 
fence of free local institutions, prolific of blessings and redo- 



278 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



lent of nationality, than in support of a system which strikes 
down their natural rights, and brands them with national in- 
feriority. 

Among the pretexts for refusing Kepeal which are used by 
English statesmen, it is insolently urged that English power 
is indispensably needed to keep a people so divided among 
themselves as the Irish from absolute anarchy and mutual 
destruction. 

The direct reverse is the fact. English power has been 
constantly employed, not to allay but to foment our divisions, 
on the principle of Divide et Imp&ra ; and the only possible 
exorcist of the baleful spirit of internal discord is a resident 
National Legislature, in which all Irish parties would possess 
a proportional representation ; and which would promote the 
numerous and varied interests which are common to Irishmen 
of every sect and party. 

The divisions existing at the present day in Ireland are ex- 
tremely analogous to those which existed in England after the 
Norman Conquest. Take the following description of the 
latter from Thierry : " The reader," says that historian, 
' ' must imagine to himself two countries ; the one possessed by 
the Normans, wealthy and exonerated from capitation and 
other taxes ; the other, that is the Saxon, enslaved and 
oppressed with a land-tax ; the former full of spacious man- 
sions, of walled and moated castles ; the latter covered with 
thatched huts and old ruined walls ; this peopled with the 
prosperous and idle, with soldiers and courtiers, with knights 
and barons — that with men miserable, and doomed to toil, with 
peasants and artisans. Lastly, to complete the picture, these 
two lands are in a manner woven into each other ; they meet 
at every point, and yet they are more completely separated 
than if there were seas between them. Each has a language 
of its own which is strange to the other. French is the court 
language, used in all the palaces, castles, and mansions, in the 
abbeys and monasteries, in all the residences of wealth and 
power ; w T hile the ancient language of the country is only 
heard at the firesides of the poor and the serfs." 

This description, with a few variations of detail, would 
accurately serve for the Ireland of our own day. How, or 
why was it, that from the jarring and apparently irreconcilable 
elements of Norman and Saxon, the great and well-combined 
English nation of the present day has been formed ? 

It was because the Conqueror placed the central government 
within, and not without, the realm of England. Had England 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



279 



been ruled then and now by a government seated in France, 
we should still see the degrading and disastrous divisions 
described by the historian existing in pestilent vigour. There 
would be the National English party, detesting the absentee 
legislature ; and there would be the French, or Norman party, 
sustaining the national evil because of some personal profit or 
class monopoly by which they might be bribed to support it. 
These parties would cordially hate each other ; and doubtless 
French statesmen would announce that French intervention 
and control were indispensably required to keep Englishmen 
from cutting one another's throats. 

But, happily for England, all her governmental institutions 
were planted upon English ground. There they took root, 
and there they formed a nucleus around which the descendants 
of the Saxon, of the Norman, of the Dane, might alike forget 
their distinctive enmities, and blend, under the shadow of an 
English legislature, into one amalgamated people. 

This is just what we want in Ireland to terminate our ruin- 
ous divisions. A resident parliament, representing all, acces- 
sible to all, and harmonising all into one great national party. 

But English Whigs — especially when out of office — inter- 
pose with soft and soothing accents, "Give up Repeal, and 
we will give you full justice in a British parliament. Did not 
King, Lords, and Commons, in 1834, promise you that every 
just cause of complaint should be removed ? Every British 
privilege shall be yours ; full equality of rights and franchises ; 
anything, everything, except an Irish parliament in College- 
green." 

Yes, everything is promised, except the concession of that 
ancient indefeasible right which is worth more a thousandfold 
than all the rest ; I say, promised — for the intention to per- 
form is far more than doubtful. But were that intention as 
sincere and honest as I believe it to be otherwise — were Whigs 
triumphant in both houses, with their hands full of boons, 
ready to bestow upon Ireland, still the political equality of 
Ireland with England under an incorporating Union is tho- 
roughly and totally impossible. It is out of the nature of 
things. In any distribution of members, England must always 
have a numerical superiority in a united legislature, capable 
of defeating the legislative influence of the whole body of Irish 
members in questions afiecting their own country. This single 
circumstance must necessarily render a legislative union of 
equality impossible. For many years before 1829 a majority 
of Irish members uniformly supported Emancipation, and that 



280 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



measure was as uniformly rejected by the English House of 
Commons. What equality was there in that ? The Coercion 
Act of 1833 was passed by the London parliament in defiance 
of a majority of Irish members. What equality was there in 
that? The income tax was imposed on Ireland in 1853 
against a large majority of Irish votes. What equality was 
there in that ? Again, it is ridiculous to expect that so long 
as the Union lasts, England will not always continue the 
residence of the legislature. That also debars a Union of 
equality. The seat of parliament is the centre of power, and 
will, necessarily, attract the Irish absentees to London . Your 
(( equality" would still leave Ireland afflicted with an absentee 
drain, now amounting to at least £4,000,000 per annum. So 
long as the Union lasts, so long will England (under the name 
of "the empire") hold the purse-strings of the Irish nation. 
What equality is there in that ? Equal rights with England 
under a Union ! The thing, I repeat, is totally impossible. 
Common sense laughs to scorn the flimsy delusion. 

Oh, but then there is to be a fusion of England and Ire- 
land into one nation — just as Sussex and Kent are identified 
with each other. This, again, is impossible. A nation, as 
Burke says, is not merely a geographical arrangement — it is a 
moral essence. The pregnant experience of the past and of 
the present — the experience of seven eventful centuries — de- 
monstrates the total impracticability of fusing together the 
moral essences of England and Ireland. To constitute sepa- 
rate nationhood are required the moral, the historical, the 
geographical elements. By these elements the special dis- 
tinctness of Ireland is as clearly marked out as is the distinct- 
ness of any other nation in the world. Kent and Sussex may 
amalgamate. Ireland can no more amalgamate with England 
than with Holland or with France. In the words of Groold, 
" Her patent to be a nation, not a shire, comes direct from 
heaven. The Almighty has, in majestic characters, signed 
the great charter of our independence. The great Creator of 
the world has given our beloved country the gigantic outlines 
of a kingdom. The God of Nature never intended that Ire- 
land should be a province." So spoke Goold, as truly as 
eloquently. God has stamped on Ireland the indelible charac- 
ters of national distinctness ; and the violent and unnatural 
efforts to counteract His manifest designs, to obliterate the 
features of her individuality, and to bring her people and her 
institutions under the control of uncongenial Britain, have re- 
sulted in unspeakable disaster and misery. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



281 



As to the Whig notion that any conceivable political amelio- 
rations could render the Union endurable, I have already tried 
to show its absurdity. Name as many good laws as you 
please ; they are surely as attainable from an Irish parliament 
as from an imperial one. So that, whilst upon the one hand 
imperial legislation can give us at best no advantage oyer 
home-government, on the other hand home-government pos- 
sesses over imperial the inestimable advantage of home-ex- 
penditure ; home-sympathies ; the sole control of our national 
resources and revenues ; the exclusion of foreign hands from 
Irish coffers ; and the residence instead of the absenteeship of 
the great Irish proprietors who follow in the wake of the legis- 
lature. Imperial legislation, even under the most favouring 
circumstances, would still leave us under the withering influ- 
ences of absenteeism, of a swindling tax drain, and of the 
anglicised, anti-Irish prepossessions and prejudices of our 
aristocracy ; whilst it could not give us one solitary good law 
that could not be far more readily procured from an Irish 
parliament. 

I shall now examine some common objections to the Repeal 
of the Union ; availing myself of the language of Mr. Daniel 
Owen Maddyn, the clever and amusing, but somewhat super- 
ficial author of " Ireland and its Rulers." Mr. Maddyn's ar- 
guments are in substance the same as those which have been 
used by English senators, journalists, and politicians in ge- 
neral. " England," says Mr. Maddyn, " would (in the event 
of Repeal) cease to be a substantive power, and Europe would 
be left at the mercy of Russia, France, Austria, and Prussia. 

In the name of common sense, we ask, Why ? What is 
there in Repeal to diminish the power of England ? The 
Union at this moment fills the minds of the Irish people at 
home and in America with rancorous jealousy of England. 
Does the rancorous jealousy of some millions of the Queen's 
European subjects conduce to the stability of England's 
pow er ? Is English power necessarily built on the depression 
of the Irish people ? Is the strength of the empire dependent 
on the weakness of one of its constituent nations ? On the 
contrary, the national sense of intolerable wrong inflicted by 
England upon Ireland in the demolition of her legislature., is 
more calculated to perpetuate international animosity, and 
thereby produce imperial weakness, than a system in which 
two free parliaments should provide for the respective wants 
of the two countries. " A house divided against itself shall 
not stand;" and the Union promotes and foments the perilous 
division of the household. 



232 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Mr. Maddyn continues as follows: "The Irish Repealers 
may object that such a consummation" (namely, the decrease 
of England's European influence) " should have happened in 
the last century, previous to the Union, if it were likely to 
take place again upon its supposed dissolution. But to this 
and all similar arguments of the Repeal party, it is a sufficient 
political answer to reply, that Ireland had never a free parlia- 
ment till 1782 ; that within eighteen years the connexion was, 
three times, all but dissolved — viz., by Flood's Convention 
for ultra-reform, by the difference upon the Regency Question 
in 1789, and by the rebellion in 1798 ; that Fox and Burke, 
while yielding to an Irish army, led by an Irish aristocracy, 
considered that Grattan's revolution was most calamitous to 
England ; and that Pitt, in the very outset of his parliamen- 
tary life, resolved on the measure of an Union and the ex- 
tinction of the Irish parliament, from his sagacious foresight 
of the probable results of two legislatures in one empire." 

" Ireland had never a free parliament until 1782." This 
assertion is, in Mr. Maddyn's sense, unfounded. We have 
already seen the Irish parliament in 1460 affirming, not only 
its own independence of England, but that of all previous par- 
liaments from the days of Henry II. In another sense, how- 
ever, Mr. Maddyn is correct ; that is, if he means to imply 
that the imperfect construction of the unreformed Irish House 
of Commons left it open to corrupt court influence. In this 
sense, it is true that even the Irish parliament of 1782 was 
not free enough ; that it was not based on a representation 
sufficiently extensive ; that too large a portion of the lower 
house represented — not the people — but the patrons of bo- 
roughs. It may be said that the Irish parliament was only 
the more easily managed on that account. Perhaps so. But 
that species of management, like all other international dis- 
honesty, incurred the strong risk of defeating its own object ; 
and instead of binding the two countries together in the solid, 
lasting bonds of full, free justice, and fair play, it tended to 
exacerbate the victimised nation, and to create a store of 
rankling hatred, fraught with eventual danger to the empire. 
The Repealers believe that heartfelt international amity and 
consequent imperial safety can alone co-exist with a truly free 
and popular Irish legislature ; one which will do justice to 
the Irish people, and be placed beyond the reach of all cor- 
rupt management. 

Let me here notice a fallacy commonly put forward by the 
Unionists. They say : " As long as you had a parliament, its 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



283 



utility was obstructed and its members were corrupted by 
English influence. Therefore a Union was indispensable to 
correct the evils resulting from such a state of things." 

It is perfectly true that the unreformed Irish parliament was 
exposed to pernicious English influence. The natural and 
rational course would have been to get rid of that influence, 
instead of getting rid of the parliament. But what is the 
remedy of the sagacious Unionists ? Why, truly, to increase 
the disease. That disease, they themselves allege, was the 
English influence then partially operating through channels of 
parliamentary corruption. What is their cure ? To render 
that same mischievous influence dominant, paramount. To 
render it perpetual and resistless. It was, they say, pernicious, 
even when counteracted by the occasional virtue or the national 
interests of an Irish legislature. And yet they would have 
us believe that it becomes innocuous when that counteractive 
power is extinct, and when no check exists to its detrimental 
operation. 

I come back to Mr. Maddyn. He blunders in his assertion 
that within eighteen years from 1782 the connexion of the 
countries was three times all but dissolved. Flood's fellow- 
conventionists were totally incompetent to effect separation 
from England, even had they desired it. And a very small 
minority of them did desire it.* In truth, the parliamentary 
reform for which they struggled, would, if successful, have 
satisfied their utmost aspirations. 

It is false that the difference upon the Regency Question, 
in 1789, "all but dissolved the connexion of the countries." 
Both parliaments concurred in their choice of the Prince of 
W r ales as Regent during the king's illness, and thus the identity 
of the executive was secured. The Irish parliament invested 
the Regent with full royal prerogatives, whilst the British 
senate, influenced by Pitt, placed some restriction on his 
powers. The party who supported the popular view in the 
Irish Commons were as warmly attached to British connexion 
as was their leader, Grattan. The danger arising from a 
possible difference in choosing the Regent might have easily 
been provided against by a law enacting that whoever at any 
time might be Regent in England should also be Regent in 
Ireland. A bill to that effect was brought into the Irish par- 
liament by the Right Hon. James Fitzgerald, and — cushioned 
by the government. 

Mr..Maddyn's assertion that the rebellion of 1798 was in 
* Flood himself was one of the few conventionists who wished separation. 



284 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



any degree ascribable to the existence of a resident parliament, 
is a curious instance of the slapdash hardihood with which a 
clever writer will sometimes lucubrate on topics he knows 
little or nothing about. Mr. Maddyn makes no attempt to 
demonstrate any connexion between the rebellion and the 
residence of the senate. The real fact is that the Irish par- 
liament of 1798 was eminently devoted to British connexion. 
Foster boasted that that parliament put down the insurrection. 
The stimulants to rebel were to be found, not in the residence 
of the legislature, but in the ample provocatives administered 
to the people by the government. 

The convulsive throes of revolutionary France then agitated 
Europe. Wild spirits — chiefly Protestant — amongst the Irish 
middle classes, first caught the contagion of French principles 
and preached up rebellion in their secret conclaves, when they 
found it impossible to obtain the parliamentary reform which 
at one time would have satisfied their desires. They unfortu- 
nately found in the hearts of the Irish peasantry a soil well 
prepared to receive the seed they scattered. England had 
prepared the soil for the reception of that seed. English 
misgovernment had taught the Irish of that day to seize on 
any project that held out a hope of deliverance from their 
tyrants. 

Mr. Maddyn next asserts that " The character of England 
would be ruined by consenting to such a measure" (as the Re- 
peal). " Her reputation for sagacity and political ability would 
be destroyed — her fame would vanish." 

It may be asked how her character and fame would suffer 
by the mere performance of an act of justice; which act would 
remove from the empire a dangerous source of weakness — 
possibly of eventual disruption. 

He continues: " Her material interests would share the 
same ruin as her moral power. As in individuals, so in 
nations, character is the creator of national wealth and rank 
in the social scale." 

Undoubtedly. But again, Mr. Maddyn does not show how 
England's character would be compromised by simply undoing 
an intolerable national wrong, and by recurring to a system 
precisely analogous to that which she instructed her am- 
bassador, Lord Minto, to negotiate in the instance of Sicily 
and Naples. 

Mr. Maddyn goes on : "It" (the Repeal) " would rob England 
of a large home market for her manufactures, for of course an 
Irish parliament would adopt the political economy of the 



IRELAND AND TIER AGITATORS. 



285 



national school, and pass a tariff hostile to English manufac- 
tures. In so doing, it would not merely cut off from England 
a large portion of her home trade, but it would also set up a 
rival trader at her very side. 11 

So then, the Repeal of the Union is resisted on the express 
and avowed grounds that it would resuscitate the manufactures 
of Ireland which the Union had destroyed. Pitt, to be sure, 
had said fine things about the marvellous increase of Irish 
trade and manufactures to be effected by the Union ; but here 
we have an Unionist, and an Irishman to boot, apprehensive 
lest the restoration of the Irish parliament should wake up 
Irish manufactures from the torpor of death, and erect the 
Irish trader into a rival of the Englishman. 

Now, if Mr.Maddyn be right — and sure I am that he is — in 
suggesting, in the above quoted slavish paragraph, that the 
Union has operated to extinguish Irish manufactures, and to 
throw the monoply of the Irish market into the hands of 
British manufacturers, it necessarily follows that violent hos- 
tility to England must be excited in the breasts of those who 
feel themselves sacrificed to the competition of the English 
trader. Mr. Maddyn, however, startles us with the discovery 
that it is not in any such causes that hostility lurks, but in the 
Repeal ; which measure, he proceeds to say, " would be creat- 
ing a hostile country whose emigrants swarm in the British 
colonies ; all of whom would be ready to act in concert with 
the Irish rulers at College-green." 

But he does not explain how an act of great national resti- 
tution could excite the hostility of the people whose goods it 
would restore to them. His notion is as irrational as it would 
be to suppose that you excite the enmity of your creditors by 
paying your debts. Their enmity would much more probably 
be aroused by the refusal of payment. He might have learned 
to think more accurately if he had read the letters addressed 
to the Repeal Association by Irish emigrants in America and 
the colonies. Their communications overflowed with hostility 
to English injustice. The Irish in America at present teach 
a similar lesson. Mr. Maddyn should have asked himself from 
which of two causes would Irish hostility to England more 
probably proceed — from the jealousy that crushed a legislature, 
and has starved out the Irish manufacturer ; or the frank and 
honourable, although tardy justice, that would restore the 
parliament, and adopt as its motto, suiun cuique f In truth, 
there is no fallacy more common than to predict, as prospec- 
tive evils to result from the Repeal, the very hostility and 



236 IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 

jealousy existing at the present moment, and of which the 
Union is itself the real cause. 

The fear that the Repeal of the Union would deprive Eng- 
land of a profitable commercial intercourse with Ireland, is as 
foolish as it is unfounded. A similar fear was entertained by 
the British merchants who in 1776 believed that the American 
revolt would destroy their trade with the American colonies. 
But their trade, instead of being destroyed, expanded into pro- 
portions commensurate with the increased vitality and energy 
acquired by America from her independence ; and it is now, 
in the words quoted by Mr. Goldwin Smith from Mr. Merivale, 
" the greatest the world ever saw."* This example should lead 
English merchants to inquire whether the dishonest profits 
derived from monopolising the manufacture-markets of plun- 
dered and impoverished Ireland, would not be greatly exceeded 
by the commercial gain of having in Ireland a prosperous and 
wealthy neighbour. 

Mr. Maddyn next alleges, as a result of Repeal, that " the 
difficulty of maintaining a standing army would be increased 
considerably. Even if Irish soldiers enlisted in the British 
ranks, upon any collision with Ireland they would probably 
desert, and start up against the * Saxons.' The loyalty of a 
large portion of the army would be doubtful, and the vast In- 
dian empire, and the colonies, would probably be left exposed 
for want of troops." 

I might argue that here again Mr. Maddyn suggests diffi- 
culties as probably resulting from Repeal, which are a great 
deal more likely to result from the Union. But it needs not. 
English policy has hunted the human material of war out of 
the country. " The Celts are gone with a vengeance." "Ire- 
land will be henceforth the fruitful mother of herds and 
flocks." Such have been the boasts of English politicians. 
Ireland is not at present a fruitful mother of recruits ; and as they 
are not forthcoming, it is scarcely worth while to speculate on 
what their probable conduct would be if they were among us 
as of old. 

Again — Mr. Maddyn fears that " The funds would be very 
liberally spunged, for of course Ireland, when separate, would 
not consent to be held responsible for debts that she never 
contracted." 

In the name of common honesty, why should she be held 
responsible for debts that she never contracted ? It is painful 
to contrast such lucubrations as these with Pitt's hypocritical 
* The " Empire," by Goldwin Smith; 1863, p. 25. 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



287 



disclaimer in 1799 of all desire to grasp our financial resources 
for British purposes. 

Let me now sum up. Ireland demands the Repeal, 

1. Because self-legislation is her indefeasible right. She 
has never surrendered that right. 

2. Because self-legislation, even though accompanied with 
the serious drawbacks of a most corrupt borough system and 
Catholic disability, conferred great and increasing prosperity 
on Ireland from 1782 until the Union. 

3. Because the destruction of our national constitution has 
covered the land with decay, and has produced unspeakable 
suffering among its inhabitants. 

4. Because Ireland is truly desirous that the integrity of 
the empire may be preserved on such terms as will not in- 
volve her own degradation and the ruinous plunder of her 
people. 

The Union imperils the integrity of the empire by holding 
out the strong lure to foreign invasion which is furnished by 
the just discontent of Ireland. Foreign invasion were indeed 
an affliction of great magnitude. But the Union is also an 
affliction of colossal magnitude — an affliction so huge that it 
may easily render even foreign conquest a mere question in 
the minds of many between one species of tyranny and 
another. Samson, in his thirst for vengeance, pulled down 
the house to crush his foes, rejoicing in the deed that over- 
whelmed them, even although he was himself included in their 
ruin. Tyranny has often merged the instinct of self-preserva- 
tion in the burning desire to punish the tyrant. 

But — give to the Irish people an Irish parliament to defend, 
and then let the foe invade our shores — he will be met by the 
stout arms and intrepid hearts of a gallant people, fortified and 
inspired by the resistless, the ennobling influences of trium- 
phant nationality. Give to the Irish that strong interest in 
repelling invasion which local institutions and domestic govern- 
ment alone can give them. Restore to them their national 
constitution, and they will feel that they have something really 
worth defending. It needs no words to prove that men will 
fight more readily to protect a domestic legislature that grati- 
fies the national pride and keeps the national wealth at home, 
than a system of absentee legislation that is in itself an insult, 
that drains the country of its wealth, and beggars multitudes 
of its inhabitants. 

British connexion with two legislatures is preferable to sepa- 
ration ; but separation would be a smaller evil than the destruc- 
tion of the Irish parliament. 



288 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



There seems no reason why Ireland should not flourish in 
a separate existence as well as Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, 
Holland, Belgium — countries all naturally her inferiors in the 
qualities and resources that entitle a nation to self-government. 
But there is every reason why Ireland, possessing a fertile 
soil, capacious estuaries, a first-rate situation for commerce, a 
brave and intelligent people, should find absolute and separate 
independence incomparably preferable to a legislative Union, 
which cripples her powers, absorbs her resources for the bene- 
fit of England, and acts as a social and political blister — ■ 
draining and irritating. 

An Englishman may easily test the capacity of the Union to 
attach Irishmen to British connexion, by asking himself the 
question, whether he would submit to a political alliance with 
any land on earth which involved the destruction of the Eng- 
lish parliament, or which deprived the English nation of self- 
government ? 

It is to be deplored that England, with her ample means of 
securing our attachment by the simple justice of Repeal, should 
yet prefer to perpetuate our hostility by refusing us that jus- 
tice. I am no blind anti-English bigot. For estimable indi- 
vidual Englishmen I entertain warm regard and deep respect. 
I can recognise the many claims of England to our admira- 
tion — would that she could enable me to add, our affection ! 
In the sixteenth century my paternal ancestors were English ; 
and a sentiment not wholly dissimilar from filial reverence 
will sometimes steal over my mind when I think that for many 
centuries my forefathers belonged to that land, so full of glo- 
rious monuments of all that can exalt and dignify the human 
race, rich with memories of martial valour and pacific wisdom, 
famed for the splendid pre-eminence in arts and arms of her 
mighty sons, covered over with her stately old ancestral 
dwellings, adorned with majestic churches and cathedrals — 
the venerable records of the piety that once distinguished her 
inhabitants. Even an Irish Repealer may experience a mo- 
mentary thrill of pride when he thinks of his remote connexion 
with a country possessing such claims on the world's admira- 
tion ; but the sentiment is quickly banished by the wrongs 
that England's crimes have inflicted upon that far dearer land 
in which his first breath was drawn, with which his fondest 
affections are identified, and of which God's providence has 
made him a citizen. 

England — England ! why will you compel our reluctant 
detestation ? 



APPENDIX. 



THE FINANCIAL GRIEVANCES OF IRELAND.* 

One of the worst evils entailed upon Ireland by the destruction of her 
native parliament, is the great injustice with which the English parlia- 
ment has treated her in matters of finance. The pecuniary loss sustained 
on this head is enormous, and to state it in all its details would demand 
a large volume. I only propose at present to bring before the reader a 
few leading facts of our case. 

Firstly, it is to be borne in mind that at the time of the Union the 
National Debt of Ireland was, in round numbers, only 28 millions ster- 
ling. At the same time the National Debt of Great Britain amounted, in 
round numbers, to 450 millions. It was plain that whereas the British 
debt was more than 16 times as large as the Irish debt, there could be 
no plausible pretext for subjecting Ireland to as high a rate of taxation as 
Great Britain. Accordingly, Lord Castlereagh, the leader of the Union- 
ists in the Irish House of Ccmmons, promised that Ireland never should 
have any concern with the pre-Union debt of Great Britain, and that the 
financial terms of the Union should not only protect Ireland from exces- 
sive or unfair taxation, but should also secure to her the exclusive benefit 
of any surplus Irish revenue that might remain after defraying the public 
expenses as set forth in the Union-statute. 

Those financial terms were as follows : 

I. Ireland was, as I have just said, to be protected from any liability 
on account of the British National Debt contracted prior to the Union. 

II. The separate Debt of each country being first provided for by a 
separate charge, Ireland was then to contribute two-seventeenths towards 
the joint or common expenditure of the United Kingdom for 20 years; 
after which her contribution was to be made proportionate to her ability, 
as ascertained at stated periods of revision by certain tests specified in the 
Act. 

III. Ireland was not only promised that she never should have any con- 
cern with the then existing British Debt, but she was also assured that 
her taxation should not be raised to the standard of Great Britain until 
the following conditions should occur : 

1., That the two debts should come to bear to each other the propor- 
tion of 15 parts for Great Britain to 2 parts for Ireland, and, 
2., That the respective circumstances of the two countries should 
admit of uniform taxation. 
The proportion of two parts for Ireland to fifteen parts for Great Britain 
• Reprinted from No. III., of Publications of the Irish National League. 

13 



290 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



was strongly protested against by Mr. Foster, the Speaker of the Irish 
House of Commons, and by the other opponents of the Union. Proofs 
were given that the load thus imposed on Ireland exceeded her capacity. 
The anti-Union members of the House of Lords entered on their journals 
a protest containing a careful and able calculation of the comparative tax- 
able ability of the two countries. They contended with justice that the 
ability of Ireland, instead of being two-seventeenths, or 1 to 7£, was no 
greater than 1 to 13. But the patriots reasoned and protested in vain. 
The ratio of 1 for Ireland to 7 J for Great Britain became law along with 
the Act of Union in which it was incorporated. 

The predictions of Mr. Foster and his friends were soon verified. They 
had spoken truly when they alleged that Ireland was overloaded by the 
Union-proportions. When the general taxation of the empire was aug- 
mented by the prolonged and increasing expenses of the war, she broke 
down beneath the enormous burthen, and recourse was had to a system of 
disproportionate borrowing on her credit, in order to make good the de- 
ficiencies of her revenue. The borrowings with which she was charged 
exceeded immensely the comparative ratio of her taxable ability, even as 
that ratio was stated by Lord Castlereagh and by the Union Act. Lord 
Castlereagh had stated her ability to bear to the ability of Great Britain 
the proportion of 1 to 7-|. But the post-Union borrowings on Irish ac- 
count by the imperial government were to the British borrowings in the 
much higher ratio of about 1 to 3 j-. Here are the figures : 



Year. 


British Debt. 


An. Charge. 


Irish Debt. 


An. Charge. . 


5th Jan. 
1801, 


£ 

450,504,984 


£ 

17,718,851 


£ 

28,545,134 


£ 

1,244,463 


5th Jan. 
1817. 


734,522,101 


28,238,416 


112,704,773 


4,104,514 



Parliamentary Paper, No. 35, of 1819.* 



Thus, while the imperial government less than doubled the British debt, 
they quadrupled the Irish debt. By this management the Irish debt, 
which in 1801 had been to the British as 1 to 16£, was forced up to bear 
to the British Debt the ratio of 1 to 7£. This was the proportion required 
by the Act of Union as a condition of subjecting Ireland to indiscriminate 
taxation with Great Britain — a condition equally impudent and iniquitous. 
Ireland was to be loaded with inordinate debt ; and then this debt was to 
be made the pretext for raising her taxation to the high British standard, 
and thereby rendering her liable to the pre-Union debt of Great Britain ! 

By way of softening down the glaring injustice of such a proposition, 
Lord Castlereagh said that the two debts might be brought to bear to each 

* By another Parliamentary Paper, No. 256, of 1824, signed by J. C. Herries, 
Secretary of the Treasury, the debts as they stood in 1801 are thus stated : — 

British Funded, £420,305,944. 

Irish Funded, 26,841,219. 
By adding the unfunded debts to these amounts, Great Britain is brought up, in 
round numbers to 446 millions, and Ireland to 28 millions. The difference between 
the two returns is unimportant, as its effect on the proportions is infinitesimal. 
This return makes the Iri-sh debt-charge less than it appears in that of 1819. 



APPENDIX. 



291 



other the prescribed proportions, partly by the increase of the Irish debt, 
but partly also by the decrease of the British. To which Mr. Foster thus 
answered on the 15th of March, 1800 : u The monstrous absurdity you 
would force down our throats is, that Ireland's increase of poverty, as 
shown by her increase of debt, and England's increase of wealth, as 
shown by diminution of debt, are to bring them to an equality of con- 
dition, so as to be able to bear an equality of taxation." 

But bad as this was, the former and worse alternative was what really 
befel. The given ratio was reached solely by the increase of the Irish debt, 
without any decrease of the British. 

The following declarations of prominent statesmen in the united parlia- 
ment attest the nature and extent of the fiscal injustice inflicted on Ireland 
by the Union : 

On the 20th June, 1804 (four years after the Union had passed), Mr. 
Foster observed, that whereas in 1 794 the Irish debt did not exceed two 
millions anda-half, it had in 1803 risen to 43 millions; and that during 
the current year it was increased to nearly 53 millions. 

In the discussion on the Irish budget in 1804 (for up to 1817 the 
Irish and British Exchequers continued separate), Mr. James Fitzgerald 
observed that " it was obvious that Ireland could not discharge her share 
of the unequal contract entered into for her ; and of course that England 
should ultimately pay all." 

And seeing that the " unequal contract" was forced upon Ireland by 
British bribes and British bayonets, it was no more than just that England 
should ultimately pay all. But it will appear by-and-by that this equitable 
obligation is not recognised by modern English statesmen. 

On the 19th of March, 1811, Mr. Parnell adverted to what he termed 
the main cause of the increase of the Irish debt, and the failure in the 
produce of the Irish taxes. " The ratio of the contribution of Ireland to 
the general expenditure fixed by the noble lord" (Castlereagh) "was that 
cause. In this his lordship was mistaken ; and that," continued Mr. 
Parnell, " was the source of all those evils and embarrassments that 
oppressed the country. Ireland had been paying a greater proportion than 
she ought to have done." 

On the 20th May, 1811, Sir John Newport said, in a debate on the 
Irish budget : " The revenues of Ireland have made no progress ade- 
quate to her debt. No instance has occurred within the last three years 
in which the separate charge of Ireland amounted to within one million 
of the joint charge. This was one effect of the rate of contribution fixed 
at the Union, which, so long as it was acted upon, would render the pay- 
ment of the debt impossible." 

On the 11th June, 1813, Mr. Wellesley Pole said that when the Union 
proportions were settled, the imperial expenditure was only 25 millions, 
whereas it now was 72 millions. He added that it never could have been 
expected that Ireland would be able to pay two-seventeenths of so large 
a sum as 72 millions.* 

On the 20th May, 1816, Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, in proposing the con- 
solidation of the two Exchequers, said : 

" You contracted with Ireland for an expenditure she could not meet ; 

* The words here ascribed to Mr. "W. Pole, were 'probably inaccurately reported. 
Ireland was not required by the Union Statute to raise 2-17ths of the whole imperial 
revenue; but only of that portion of the revenue which remained after each coun- 
try should liavc first provided for its own separate debt charge. 



292 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



your own snare of which you could not meet hut hy sacrifices unexampled ; 
by exertions, the tension of which England only could have borne. Ire- 
land had been led to hope that her expenditure would have been less than 
before she was united with you. In the 15 years preceding the Union 
it amounted to 41 millions, but in the 15 years of Union it swelled to 148 
millions. The increase of her revenue would have more than discharged, 
without the aid of loans, an expenditure greater than that of the 15 years 
preceding 18&L" 

This is tantamount to an admission that a domestic parliament would 
have preserved us from the insolvency in which we were involved by the 
Union rate of contribution. 

The Parliamentary Committee of 1815 which recommended the con- 
solidation of the English and Irish Exchequers, admitted that the two- 
seventeenths were " a burthen which experience had proved to be too 
great," (Fourth Report, published 1815, sessional number 214.) 

Mr. Leslie Foster said that " taxation in Ireland had been carried 
almost to its neplusultra." On the 21st April, 1818, Mr. Plunket, speak- 
ing to a motion of Mr. Shaw's on the window-tax, said : " Ireland cer- 
tainly had not paid the two-seventeenths stipulated for at the time of the 
Union ; and for the plainest of all possible reasons, because she could not ; 
because a burthen utterly disproportioned to her strength had been im- 
posed on her." In 1822 the late Right Hon. Henry Goulburn, when 
speaking to a motion of Sir John Newport, said ; " The Union contribu- 
tion of two-seventeenths for Ireland is now admitted on all hands to have 
been more than she was able to bear." And in 1830 the late Marquis of 
Lansdowne referred in the House of Lords to the incapacity of Ireland to 
bear the load that had been imposed upon her. 

In 1816 w r as passed the Act for consolidating the British and Irish Ex- 
chequers — it is the 56th George III. chap. 98. It became operative on 
the 1st January, 1817. 

The pretext for passing it was to relieve Ireland from the unjust load 
imposed upon her by the Union-rate of contribution, and from the unpaid 
excess of so-called " Irish" debt which had rendered her insolvent, and 
which was the inevitable result of the fraudulent Union-ratio. Great 
Britain was to assume that excess ; or, speaking more accurately, it was to 
be transferred from the separate Irish account to the general imperial ac- 
count. 

It is here to be noted that the excess of so-called Irish debt which ex- 
isted in 1816 is commonly spoken of by British politicians, and also by 
some ignorant Irish ones, as if it were really and justly Irish debt, creating 
on the part of Ireland an equitable liability, from which Great Britain gene- 
rously relieved her by passing the Consolidation Act, and thereby taking 
on herself the liability in question. Nothing can be more false than this 
view of the matter. Firstly, the excess of " Irish" debt arose from a rate 
of contribution admittedly unjust. Ireland was overcharged by the Union 
proportion of two-seventeenths. To the exact extent of the Irish over- 
charge was Great Britain undercharged. If Ireland were taxed too much, 
Great Britain was to the same extent necessarily taxed too little. The 
injustice of the two-seventeenths is clearly admitted by the statesmen I 
have quoted. The unpaid excess of debt arising out of that unjust pro- 
portion, is not properly Irish debt at all, but British. 

Secondly, it appears if possible more plain that the excess of debt thus 
created was really British though nominally Irish, when we consider that 



APPENDIX. 



293 



the Act of Union that contained the nnjust fiscal ratio in which that 
excess originated, was forced upon Ireland by English power against the all 
but universal will of the Irish people, and by means of which it is utterly 
impossible to exaggerate the wickedness. Let us suppose a parallel case 
between two private persons. If A, by violence and fraud, coerces recalci- 
trant B into submitting to a fiscal burthen beyond his ability, and which 
finally renders B insolvent, will anyone contend that A, who forced the 
burthen on reluctant and resisting B, is not the person morally liable to 
the whole extent of the excess which his victim proves unable to dis- 
charge ? 

So it was between England and Ireland. Yet statesmen and publicists 
have talked about the generosity of Great Britain in taking on herself the 
load of Irish debt ! 

The opponents of the Union were justly afraid that the balance, or 
surplus, of Irish taxes which should remain after defraying the public ex- 
penses of Ireland, would be carried out of the country by the English 
government. In order to quiet this fear, a clause was inserted in the 7th 
article of the Act of Union, enacting that Ireland should have the sole 
and exclusive benefit of all her surplus taxes in any one of five modes 
pointed out in the clause. This provision looked well. But its authors 
had taken effectual means to prevent Ireland from deriving any benefit 
from it, by the dexterous contrivance of making her " contract" (to bor- 
row the words of Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald) M for an expenditure she could 
not meet." If she could not even meet the expenditure forced on her, a 
fortiori she could not have a surplus. Thus, while a formal clause appa- 
rently secured to her the use of her own money, that clause was cleverly 
accompanied with fiscal conditions that rendered it worthless. 

The Parliamentary Committee of 1815, as well as individual members, 
had, as we have seen, proclaimed that the Union-ratio imposed on Ireland 
was beyond her ability. In 1816 the Consolidation Act passed, uniting 
the two Exchequers. Honesty would suggest that if the former rate of 
Irish contribution were condemned as unjustly high, a new and lower rate 
should now be substituted for it. But theu a separate ratio for Ireland, 
fairly poportioned to her ability, would leave to Ireland a separate surplus 
revenue. Nay, when the public expenditure should fall to the low peace 
level, even the two-seventeenths, although beyond the true Irish proportion, 
might nevertheless possibly leave an Irish surplus, which surplus, under 
the 7th Article of the Union, should be appropriated exclusively to Irish 
uses. This would never do. It would not consist with the British idea 
about Irish matters, that Ireland should retain the use of her own reve- 
nues. A special Irish surplus must therefore be rendered impossible. Ac- 
cordingly, the imperial parliament, by the 56th George III. chap. 98, 
abolished the Union ratio of two-seventeenths without substituting any 
other ratio. When Ireland ceased to have a special ratio, she technically 
ceased to have a special surplus. Thus again was the Union-guarantee 
that Irish surplus revenue should be applied to the sole benefit of Ireland, 
rendered null by dishonest legislation. 

The bankruptcy of Ireland in 1816, brought about by the Union-ratio 
of two-seventeenths and by imperial management, was turned to account 
in that year by the British power that produced it. The substitution of 
an indiscriminate system of taxation tor fixed international proportions, 
mortgaged Ireland for the pre-Union debt of Great Britain, a debt she had 
no part in contracting, and from which the Act of Union professes to pro- 



294 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



tect her, "but to the annual interest of which she is forced to contribute a 
portion of payment. 

The transactions of 1816 were again turned to account by Mr. Glad- 
stone, who, in 1853, justified the Irish income tax by pleading that in 1816 
Great Britain had assumed the unpaid excess of what was termed " Irish 
debt." But that excess was admitted to have originated in a fiscal in- 
justice. Mr. Gladstone, therefore, deems that the removal of an admit- 
tedly unjust load, creates a right to impose another load in place of the 
one taken off. In other words, if you undo an avowed wrong, you are 
thereby entitled to inflict an equivalent wrong on the aggrieved party. 

Colonel Dunne's Committee on Irish Taxation will, I trust, have useful 
results. The Irish witnesses underwent a very hostile cross-examination 
from some of the English members of the Committee. But setting aside 
the multitude of details, many of them irrelevant, into which the inquiry 
diverged, the following facts stand unshaken, and should become fami- 
liarly known to every man in Ireland : 

1. The British debt in 1801 was about 16| times as large as the Irish 
debt. 

2. It was promised by the authors of the Union, and the promise was 
embodied in the 7 th Article, that as Ireland had no part in contracting 
that debt, so she should be for ever preserved from all concern with the 
payment of its principal or interest. 

3. In order to give effect to this promise, Great Britain was to be sepa- 
rately taxed to the extent of her separate pre-Union debt-charge. But 
Great Britain is not thus separately taxed ; and Ireland is consequently 
made to contribute to the payment of a purely British liability from which 
she was promised perpetual exemption. 

4. Ireland has never received from Great Britain one farthing by way 
of compensation or equivalent for being thus subjected to the pre-Union 
British debt. 

5. By the 5th clause of the 7th Article of the Union, Ireland, as I have 
already said, was guaranteed the benefit of her own surplus taxes. She 
has never during the 64 years of Union, received one farthing in virtue of 
that clause. Her taxes, after defraying her public-domestic expenses, 
have been uniformly abstracted by England ; and the clause that professes 
to secure to Ireland the use of them has been rendered a dead letter by 
the parliamentary management I have described. 

6. The amount of Irish taxes annually drawn from this kingdom is a 
very large item in the general pecuniary drain. Mr. Dillon, in his able 
and carefully compiled Report to the Dublin Corporation, shows that the 
Irish taxes expended out of Ireland in the year 1860 amounted to 
£4,095,453; and that in 1861 they amounted to £3,970,715. 

7. From the tone of some of the English members of Colonel Dunne's 
Committee, when examining the witnesses on Irish taxation, it seems 
clear that those gentlemen have not got the slightest idea that any sepa- 
rate British liability exists. And I cannot discover the faintest trace that 
Messieurs Lowe, Stanhope, Northcote, and Hankey recognise the right 
of Ireland to the separate use of her own surplus. They seem to be 
thoroughly imbued with the truly English notion that Irish taxes, when 
expended for Irish purposes, are unfairly withheld from their rightful 
English owners. 

All this financial injustice is the inevitable result of losing the pro- 
tection of an Irish legislature. The species of connexion that exists 



APPENDIX. 



295 



between Ireland and England is designed and adapted to draw off Irish 
wealth to England without any return. Before closing this part of my 
subject, I desire once more to impress upon the reader the important 
fact that we are entitled to a great equivalent for having been subjected 
to the heavy pre-Uuion British liabilities, and that up to this hour the 
equivalent has been withheld. This fact should be always kept in view. 

I have hitherto considered the abstraction of money from Ireland with 
reference to its injustice. I shall add a few words on the inability of 
Ireland to endure the drain of her means, and on the effect of that drain 
upon her people. 

It has been said that the capacity of Ireland to pay taxes on the pre- 
sent high scale is demonstrated by the fact of her paying them. It 
would be about as rational to infer the capacity of an individual for dis- 
bursement from the fact of his being robbed. True, Ireland pays; 
but at what cost of popular suffering ? High taxes are indeed wrung 
out of her ; but that they are disproportioned to her strength is shown 
by the evanishment of her people. The pecuniary resources that should 
employ and support the labouring population and large numbers of small 
traders are drawn out of the country in a variety of ways ; and millions 
of our people, despoiled of their natural and legitimate sources of sup- 
port, have been forced in self-defence to fly to foreign lands. It must 
be remembered that excessive taxation is only one mode out of many in 
which England contrives to get hold of the money of Ireland. There are 
also the rents remitted to the absentee owners of Irish estates ; which 
rents, if we average them at three millions per annum for the 64 years of 
Union, amount to 192 millions sterling. There is the money withdrawn 
for the parliament ary expenses of passing railway bills, and other bills of 
private companies ; as also for appeals from Ireland to the House of 
Lords, which, if it were not for the Union, would be spent in Dublin. 
There is the money withdrawn in the commercial profits of banks and 
insurance companies whose head-quarters are in London. There is the 
money sent out of the country to purchase those articles of English 
manufacture that obtained possession of the Irish market on the ruin of 
our own manufacture. There is the money spent in London by Irish 
law students, whom an absurd and degrading practice compels to pass a 
certain number of their terms at English inns of court. There is the in- 
terest of loans remitted from Ireland to English money-lenders. Wealth 
begets wealth; and the causes which have impoverished Ireland and 
enriched England have placed the lenders of money in the latter coun- 
try. It of course is no grievance to an Irish borrower to obtain an ad- 
vance from an English lender. But it is a national calamity that Ireland 
should be so drained of her wealth that the capital whence the advances 
are made must be sought across the water ; involving, in the interest 
paid thereon, a large addition to the absentee drain. I believe that 300 
millions sterling are a very low estimate of the actual cash extorted from 
Ireland by the action of the Union in the modes I have enumerated; 
and it must be kept in mind that we lose not merely the enormous sums 
that are abstracted, but also the domestic profit that would arise from 
their expenditure in the land that produced them. 

How is it possible that the annual productions of a country thus cir- 
cumstanced can ever accumulate into national capital ? Capital is said 
by M'Culloch to consist of produce saved from immediate consumption. 
To employ an illustration familiar to my rural readers, a farmer's wife 



296 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



whose cream is regularly skimmed and carried off by a free-and-easy 
neighbour, may as well hope for a good supply of butter from her dairy, 
as Ireland can hope for an adequate growth of national capital when so 
large an amount of her annual income is incessantly carried off by Eng. 
land. 

Can anyone wonder that a country thus cruelly despoiled should lose 
in recent years two millions and a-half of its inhabitants ?* Or that, 
when visited by famine in 1846, the plundered nation, deprived by the 
Union of the power of self-support, should have become the recipient of 
the world's alms ? All this monstrous spoliation is styled, " the identifi- 
cation of the two islands;" "the unity of their interests;" and we are 
told that it makes " Ireland an integral part of the empire." Our money 
is taken, our people are driven to emigrate, and we are paid off in this 
sort of talk. The Union of England and Ireland was compared by Lord 
Byron to the union of a shark with its prey. In its present operation it 
degrades, defrauds, and depopulates Ireland. 

W J. O'N. Daunt. 

Kilcascan, 6th September, 1864. 



General Dunne's Committee issued their Report on Irish Taxation on 
the 1st June, 1865. General Dunne refused to sign- it, very justly con- 
ceiving that it did not present a fair statement of the question. He had 
submitted to the committee a draft report in which the fiscal case of 
Ireland was very ably stated. This was rejected, and the committee, by 
a small majority (which included an Irish member, Sir George Colthurst), 
adopted a Report which had been drawn up by Sir Stafford Northcote. 

A question had been discussed, whether, according to the terms of the 
Union, a separate debt might have been created for Ireland to supplement 
the annual deficiencies of hsr contribution. On this point Sir Stafford 
Northcote says : " It is obvious that if a separate debt could not be created, 
Ireland might have been required to make good, year by year, her con- 
tribution of two-seventeenths to the joint expenditure of the whole king- 
dom." 

Yes — but only until 1820 ; at which period, according to the Act of 
Union, there was to be a revision of the proportions. Sir Stafford ignores 
the revision, and argues as if the two-seventeenths were to have been per- 
petual. 

Sir Stafford admits (p. vi. of Report) that " experience proved that the 
resources of Ireland were not sufficient to meet it" (viz., the contribution 
of two-seventeenths). Yet he argues throughout as if Ireland were justly 
and equitably liable to a load admittedly beyond her resources. The 
power reserved in the Act of Union to revise the proportions clearly im- 
plied that they might have been miscalculated, and that, if so, the error 
should be rectified. Sir Stafford admits the fact of the miscalculation ; 
yet his reasoning assumes that this admitted overcharge constituted, in 
point of equity, a debt fairly binding on Ireland. 

In 1817 the English and Irish exchequers were amalgamated, and 

* I do not ascribe the exodus exclusively to the money-drain. There are at least 
three other leading causes of it; but of these there are none, I think, more effective 
than the money- drain. 



APPENDIX. 



297 



Ireland was thereby swindled out of the protection she would have de- 
rived from a just revision of the proportions. 

M Had that amalgamation not taken place," says Sir Stafford, " and had 
the system of raising revenue which prevailed from 1801 to 1816 been 
continued, the Irish separate debt would have continued to increase until 
the country might have been crushed by it" (p. viii.) 

Again Sir Stafford ignores the provision for revising the proportions in 
1820. One would think he had not seen it; and yet he copies at full 
length the section of the Act that contains it. 

The following admissions are worth extracting : " Since 1845," 6ays 
Sir Stafford, "the share which Great Britain has had in the remission of 
imperial taxation has been proportionally much larger than that which 
Ireland has had ; and the additions made to the imperial taxation of 
Ireland have been proportionally heavier than those made to the taxation 
of Great Britain, while at the same time it can hardly be doubted that 
Great Britain has derived a larger measure of advantage than Ireland 
from the repeal of the Corn Laws, as a compensation for which the bo >n 
was originally given by Sir R. Peel. 

" It is not surprising that the large increase which your committee have 
noticed in the general taxation since 1845, should have given rise to com- 
plaint. Nor is it surprising that louder complaints should have been 
made by Ireland than by other parts of the United Kingdom. The pres- 
sure of taxation will be felt most by the weakest part of the community ; 
and as the average wealth of the Irish taxpayers is less than the average 
wealth of the English taxpayers, the ability of Ireland to bear heavy 
taxation is evidently less than the ability of England. Mr. Senior, whose 
evidence upon the position of Ireland will be found very suggestive, re- 
marks that the taxation of England is both the heaviest and the lightest 
in Europe — the heaviest as regards the amount raised, the lightest as re- 
gards the ability to bear that amount ; but that in the case of Ireland it 
is heavy both as regards the amount and as regards the ability of the 
contributor ; and he adds that England is the most lightly taxed, and 
Ireland the most heavily taxed country in Europe, although both are 
nominally liable to equal taxation" (pp. x. xi.) 

But Sir Stafford says that if Irish taxation were specially reduced on 
the score of Irish poverty, the poorer parts of Great Britain might claim 
reduction of taxes on similar grounds. On the first publication in the 
newspapers of Sir Stafford's Report, I addressed to the National League a 
letter, from which I take the following passage: "When Colonel Dunne 
claims that, in conformity with Union promises, Irish fiscal burthens 
should be lessened to the admittedly small ratio of Irish fiscal ability, he 
is told that the same claim of reduction might as fairly be set up by any 
distressed portion of Great Britain — say, for instance, Wiltshire. And 
this shallow excuse is given by able men ! Pray, look at the disparity 
that exists between the cases they thus seek to assimilate. Wiltshire 
never had a distinct and separate debt. Wiltshire cannot show, as Ireland 
can, that it was ever promised exemption from the old British debt. It 
cannot show, as Ireland can, that it was ever promised the local and ex- 
clusive expenditure of its own surplus public revenue. In these important 
respects it stands in a totally different position from Ireland. On the 
direct contrary, Wiltshire is morally, politically, and geographically an 
integral member of that country which promised to secure to Irelaud 
exemption from pre-Union British burthens, and the exclusive use of 



298 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



Irish surplus revenue. It is, therefore, absurd to pretend that Wiltshire 
has as good a right — or any right — to make for herself claims such as we 
put forward. Wiltshire, being an integral part of Britain, is herself a 
party to the British promise given to Ireland. She stands in the position 
of promisor — Ireland occupies that of promisee. It is a shallow and dis- 
creditable juggle to pretend that an identity of position exists between 
parties who stand in directly opposite relations to each other." 

I conclude this section of the Appendix with the following quotation 
from a speech delivered by Henry Grattan in 1800 : " Rely on it that 
Ireland, like every enslaved country, will ultimately be compelled to pay 
for her own subjugation. Robbery and taxes ever follow conquest ; the 
country that loses her liberty loses her revenues. " 



" RIGBY." 

I am not certain that Downpatrick was the scene of this gentleman's 
curious adventure as a parliamentary candidate. Perhaps it was Athlone. 
(See page 56.) 



THE KEGENCY QUESTION. 

Among the difficulties most commonlv paraded by those persons who can 
see nothing but mischief in the Repeal of the Union, one of the most 
prominent is the possible difference of the two parliaments on the ques- 
tion of selecting a Regent. Mr. S harm an Crawford, in his anti- Repeal 
Letters of 1841, copying his predecessors, insisted strongly on the perils 
(and no man denies them) which would follow from such a diversity. The 
Repealers, however, propose that the cause of dissension on this point 
should be extinguished, by leaving the appointment of the Regent exclu- 
sively in the hands of the British ministry and parliament. To this pro- 
posal Mr. Crawford objected, " That it would surrender the independence 
of the Irish parliament on this vital point.' 7 

I quote the following passage from my reply to Mr. Crawford: " I do 
not see how the independence of the Irish parliament would be one whit 
more compromised by an ipso facto identity of the Regent, than it would 
be by the ipso facto identity of the Sovereign ; and, I never yet heard 
that this latter identity was deemed incompatible with the parliamentary 
independence of Ireland. In fact, the identity of the Regent would seem 
to follow as a necessary consequence from the principle of the law that 
requires the identity of the monarch. 

" Mr. Crawford terms the Regency question 1 a vital point/ So it is — 
vital to the imperial connexion of the kingdoms ; and it is therefore that 
we Repealers, being ardent friends of the connexion, are desirous to in- 
corporate with the Irish Constitution a provision for the identity of the 
Regent. But the question of the Regent's person, however important to 
the connexion of the countries, is a matter of very inferior importance as 
affects the general welfare and every-day comfort of the people — the ad- 
ministration of justice — the prosperity of trade, of manufactures, of com- 
merce. These are the matters of really vital importance to the people — 



APPENDIX. 



209 



matters which require all the care of a resident, well-constructed, popular 
parliament. Give the people of Ireland such a parliament as this, and 
they can well afford to leave to a British ministry the selection of the 
Regent's person." 



JOHN O'CONNELL OX THE COMPARATIVE COM- 
FORT OF THE IRISH PEOPLE, BEFORE AND 
AFTER THE UNION.* 

John O'Coxxell, to show the greater comfort enjoyed by the Irish 
people hefore the Union than in 1843, wrote as follows : " A return has 
recently appeared in all the papers, of the number of sheep and horned 
cattle at Ballinasloe every year since 1790 to the present time. I extract 
from it the following : 

Years. Sheep. Horned Cattle. 

1799 - - 77,900 - - 9,900. 

1835 - - 62.400 - - 8,500. 

1842 - - 76,800 - - 14,300. 

Now, by a parliamentary report of 1834, and the Irish Railway Report, I 
find that our whole export of sheep the first of the above years was only 
800 — and in the second was 125,000. What became of the 77,100 sur- 
plus sheep in the former year, as well as the sheep at other fairs ? They 
were eaten at home. Where did the people get money to buy them ? 

The money of the country was spent in the country As to 

oxen, 14,000 went away in 1799, and 98,000 in 1835 ; yet, if we test the 
product of all Ireland in the former year by the amount at Ballinasloe 
fair — no bad criterion, I believe — she had for sale more in that year than 

in 1835, and consumed the surplus over her export Her 

export in 1799 was only one-seventh of what it was in 1835." 



ENDOWMENT OF THE IRISH CATHOLIC CHURCH. 

Since the seventh chapter of this work was written. Mr, Aubrey De Vere 
has published his pamphlet entitled " Pleas for Secularization in which 
he again assigns reasons for dissenting from my opinion that the state-en- 
dowment of the Catholic Church of Ireland would be eminently pernicious 
to the spiritual and temporal interests of the Irish people. Mr. De Vere's 
views, and mine, have been so fully stated in our various publications, 
that farther discussion of our respective reasons would, I think, be super- 
fluous ; the more especially as the policy I venture to advocate has re- 
ceived the high and unanimous sanction of the Catholic Prelates of Ire- 
land at their general meeting held in Dublin on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd 
October, 1867. 



* See page 172. 



300 



IRELAND AND HER AGITATORS. 



JUDGE 'HAG AN ON THE SEPARATE IRISH JUDI- 
CATURE.* 

" We may labour, in all proper cases, to assimilate the laws of the three 
kingdoms, giving for that purpose from every district what light and help 
we can reciprocally furnish ; but we should maintain for all the integrity 
of their independent judicatures, in the assurance that they will not less 
enjoy the benefits of a common code, if it do not aim to subordinate any 
one to any other of them, or unduly exalt a part at the expense of ex- 
haustion and depression to the rest For Ireland, at least, 

it is essential to maintain a high judiciary and an educated bar, if she 
would preserve anything of the informed opinion, the productive energy, 
and the public spirit, without which a people stagnates and sinks into 
contempt." (See p. 200 ante.) 

* From his Address, at the Social Science Congress at Belfast, September, 1867. 



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